Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31

"761 buildings, 445 sets of grounds, and 2,325 apartments, at roughly $1.7 billion"

--The Italian newspaper Libero's estimate of the market value of the Vatican's Propaganda Fide's real estate holdings; image, with caption: shots of seminarians from the Propaganda College in their college cassocks from


The Last Three (Virtual) Feet: U.S. Embassy Baghdad Launches New Online Outreach: U.S. Department of State U.S. Department of State 31 December 2010, 11:19 am - Zikkir: - "At U.S. embassies around the world, State Department Public Diplomacy Officers are constantly asking themselves, 'How can we find new ways to communicate with foreign audiences?' Social media has opened new doors of dialogue for American diplomats seeking to engage foreign audiences. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have become new tools in the diplomatic toolbox of the modern Foreign Service Officer.

Here in Iraq the U.S. Embassy is dedicating greater resources and personnel to using social media to advance U.S. foreign policy objectives. At a time when explaining our new relationship with the government and people of Iraq is of critical importance, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has launched a new program on the embassy's YouTube channel entitled, 'Window into the U.S. Embassy.' The new program features Arabic-speaking American diplomats who explain how the United States and Iraq are building an enduring partnership through America's robust civilian commitment. Under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement, signed in November 2008, both countries are building bridges of cooperation that will endure and strengthen Iraq (and the United States) as America fulfills its commitment to withdrawing all U.S. troops by December 2011. I'm a firm believer in Edward R. Murrow's tried and true words about effective communication with foreign audiences: 'The real crucial link in the international communication chain is the last three feet... one person talking to another.' While there's no substitute for meeting Iraqis face-to-face, and building relationships over a cup of steaming tea or a plate of kebabs, here at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad social media is helping us open windows into new audiences and build bridges across those last three (virtual) feet." Image from article

How will WikiLeaks impact public diplomacy? - milos, Persuasion, the Essence of Diplomacy: "Public diplomacy operates best by precept and example. By allowing WikiLeaks to publish, the USA would redeem its democratic ideal . ... Transparency may also boost public diplomacy discourse, which allows greater flexibility than traditional diplomacy. The basic premise of effective public diplomacy is that those governments utilising it have a lot of mutually beneficial things to share with the world, and reasonably little to conceal. To couple the above with an open media space, it also implies that public diplomacy will have to be honest rather than just serve as a smoke screen behind which corrupt and authoritarian regimes may continue to strive. Operating in such an environment could potentially cajole more introverted governments to open up, and thus self-reinforce adherence to transparency and further accountability to their respective publics. Finally, WikiLeaks may have pointed out missteps that have brought American public diplomacy into disrepute, but it has also offered a potential path to rehabilitate it by insisting on a more transparent engagement with the rest of the world based on a search for win-win outcomes to non-zero-sum games."

RFE/RL now providing "Belarus Crackdown" web section - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Tourism and Tequila Worms: Expanding an Exchange Program in Tepic, Mexico - Luke Fernandez, "Dina Berger [Holiday in Mexico: Critical Reflections on Tourism and Tourist Encounters (edited by Dina Berger and Andrew Wood)] explains that U.S.-Mexican tourism has also served as a form of informal diplomacy: Tourists, through pleasure travel, learned what made Mexico tick and learned to appreciate cultural difference and likeness….. those who enacted it seemingly played some role in forwarding foreign policy agendas, whether aware of it or not….tourism can and has acted as a medium for improving Mexican-U.S. relations. After all, through the act of travel, members of different nations came face-to-face with one another in a potentially meaningful exchange. And like more formal programs of public diplomacy, a certain image of national identity was portrayed by both host and guest. p.111-114"

2010 'confirmed increasing importance of Azerbaijan' - Inessa Baban, PhD candidate in geopolitics at the Paris-Sorbonne University, France: "The year 2010 confirmed the increasing importance of Azerbaijan at the regional and extra-regional level, as it was a focus for important actors like Turkey and Russia, the EU and US. Azerbaijan’s energy resources, its political, economic stability and strategic position obliged these actors to pay special attention to Azerbaijan and, consequently, to strengthen or improve their relations with Baku.

This external interest in Azerbaijan can be measured by the quantity and quality of official visits made by senior representatives of the EU, US, Turkey and Russia to Baku during the year. In turn, Azerbaijani policymakers managed and capitalized on this external interest in a smart way, advancing Azerbaijan’s interests by means of its traditional energy policy and adding very active public diplomacy - Azerbaijan hosted international cultural and academic events such as the Gabala International Musical Festival and the First Annual Symposium of International Relations Scholars. The establishment and development of a strong dialogue with Azerbaijani diasporas and its involvement with the implementation of this public diplomacy represent one of the most important achievements of Azerbaijan’s government and its foreign policy in 2010." Baban image from article

Ambassador Namik Tan - Larry Luxner, The Washington Diplomat: Besides his posts in Washington and Tel Aviv, Tan

has served as deputy undersecretary of bilateral political affairs and public diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009-10), as well as deputy director-general at the ministry’s Information Department (2004-07). Image from article

KRI Dewaruci Pukau Italian Visitors - Embassy of Indonesia:

Oemar Ambassador, accompanied by Musurifun Lajawa, Counsellor of Socio-Cultural Affairs and Public Diplomacy, held a meeting with Lieutenant Colonel Suharto La Djide, Captain of KRI Dewaruci and Crews.

OhTen - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "One more year honing the craft of public diplomacy, one more year practicing the fine arts of knight errantry."

2010 Dedham Transcript's Year in Review: Dedham Council on Aging director fired for violating the conflict of interest law - "Following a matter that evolved into a heated public diplomacy hearing, Town Administrator William Keegan upheld his decision in February to fire Dedham Council on Aging Director Rita Kalcos for what he said was a 'blatant violation of the conflict of interest law.' The issue surrounding her termination involved the hiring of Nicholas McDonough, Kalcos’s son. McDonough was hired in 2009 to teach senior exercise classes until a permanent hire could be made. Keegan argued, because Kalcos oversaw the rate of pay for her son, this violated the state conflict of interest law. At her public hearing Kalcos continued to argue that she didn’t know she was in the wrong."

E-mail from Len Baldyga - "Dear Colleagues. I regret to inform you that Barry Zorthian, one of the legendary figures in the history of USIA and the Voice of America, passed away December 30. A funeral service is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday of next week at St. Mary's Apostolic Armenian Church, 4125 Fessenden St., NW, Washington, DC. A memorial service and burial at Arlington Cemetery will take place at a later date. Barry's wife Margaret passed away in July of this year. He is survived by two sons, Gregory J. (Robin) of Greenwich, CT and Stephen A. Zorthian of New York, NY. ... . Len Baldyga"


WikiLeaks cable dump reveals flaws of State Department's information-sharing tool - Joby Warrick, Washington Post: Before the infamous leak, the 250,000 State Department cables acquired by anti-secrecy activists resided in a database so obscure that few diplomats had heard of it. It had a bureaucratic name, Net-Centric Diplomacy, and served an important mission: the rapid sharing of information that could help uncover threats against the United States. But like many bureaucratic inventions, it expanded beyond what its creators had imagined. It also contained risks that no one foresaw. Millions of people around the world now know that the State Department's secret cables became the property of WikiLeaks. But only recently have investigators understood the critical role played by Net-Centric Diplomacy, a computer initiative that became the conduit for what was perhaps the biggest heist of sensitive U.S. government documents in modern times. Partly because of its design but also because of confusion among its users, the database became an inadvertent repository for a vast array of State Department cables, including records of the U.S. government's most sensitive discussions with foreign leaders and diplomats. Unfortunately for the department, the system lacked features to detect the unauthorized downloading by Pentagon employees and others of massive amounts of data, according to State Department officials and information-security experts. The result was a disastrous setback for U.S. diplomatic efforts around the globe. Via LB

WikiLeaks' Collateral Damage: Julian Assange's reckless behavior could cost Zimbabwe's leading democrat his life - James Kirchick, Wall Street Journal (subscription)

The West still leads the world in propaganda - As relayed from Reddit though Hacker News: Someone was talking about a colleague of his who was Chinese and had come to the US, and who, over dinner with some other colleagues, said: "I can't believe how smooth your propaganda is here in the US. In China it is crude and everyone can see through it, but here you almost miss it."

To which all of the other colleagues replied: "What are you talking about? We don't have propaganda in the US!" Image from

Cuba Releases Political Prisoner‎ - Efe, Fox News Latino: The Cuban government released on parole political prisoner Egberto Angel Escobedo Morales, who was serving a 20-year sentence for espionage and engaging in enemy propaganda, the former prisoner told Efe.

Image from article, with caption: Egberto Angel Escobedo Moralez shown here with his wife after his release from prison. He served 15 years on espionage charges.

Evil Empire Round Up: Russia Today Promotes Hamas Propaganda Edition - Oh indeed Russia Today, the propaganda arm of the Kremlin is supporting Hamas, as Russia itself is also supporting Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in the hopes that they will “not train” Chechen terrorists on the home front who pretty much say the same garbage about Russians being “occupiers” like the Palestinian Islamic radicals do with the Israelis…but don’t tell RT that. Aside from that, there are many YouTube Jihadis also praising the support for a well known terrorist group which Russia Today is purposely doing.

Most under-reported Vatican stories of 2010 - John L. Allen, Jr, National Catholic Reporter: 4. Scandals at Propaganda Fide and the Vatican Bank. In 2010, two venerable Vatican institutions, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (the department for missionary activity still known by its old name, Propaganda Fide) and the Institute for the Works of Religion (popularly called the Vatican Bank), faced accusations of financial shenanigans. For centuries, Propaganda Fide has been a financial empire all to itself, owning scads of prime real estate and managing large bank accounts in order to fund overseas missions. The cardinal-prefect is informally dubbed the “Red Pope,”

a reference to the power and influence those resources generate. (The Italian newspaper Libero has estimated the market value of the congregation’s real estate holdings, which reportedly include 761 buildings, 445 sets of grounds, and 2,325 apartments, at roughly $1.7 billion.) Many observers have long believed that the wealth of Propaganda Fide, coupled with its near-total autonomy, made it ripe for a financial scandal, and 2010 turned out to be the year those chickens came home to roost. In June, Italian prosecutors announced that Italian Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples, who headed Propaganda Fide from 2001 to 2006, is the target of an anti-corruption probe. The theory is that Sepe gave Italian politicians sweetheart deals on apartments at the same time that millions of Euros in state funds were allocated for remodeling projects at Propaganda Fide, including its headquarters in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna. In effect, the suggestion is that Sepe bribed public officials to fund work that in some instances was never completed. As of this writing, an investigation by Italian prosecutors is on-going. Sepe has declared his innocence, saying, “I acted solely for the good of the church.” Image from

Vietnamese bishop rejects government propaganda - Bishop Chau Ngoc Tri of Da Nang, Vietnam, has condemned a government propaganda campaign against Catholic activists who oppose the seizure of church properties.

Chinese Government bans VoIP‎ - Telecoms News: The People’s Republic of China, so giving and generous to its population, and not at all restrictive. Yeah right, who are we kidding? The latest pitfall subsequently in the way of Chinese propaganda enthusiasts? Skype. That’s right. China has blocked its millions of workers from cheap calls via VoIP

by banning the communication, and will only allow state-owned enterprises; China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom to offer Internet phone services linking telephones and computers. China has also barred popular sites such as; Youtube, Flickr, Blogspot, Twitter and Hotmail. Even Internet search engine giant, Google, obey by China’s strict censorship laws, displaying only China approved sites in its searches. Image from

Google sites harder to access in China. New domestic search engine the reason?
- Kim Andre Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

NKorea's state TV airs British film 'Bend it Like Beckham' - Read more: NKorea's state TV airs British film 'Bend it Like Beckham' - The Times of India: Breaking the monotony of regular programmes and propaganda on North Korea's state TV, the channel has broadcast first ever western film -- Gurinder Chadha's 'Bend it Like Beckham'.

The 2002 film was aired on December 26 starring Parminder Nagra and Keira Knightley is set in London and revolves around an Indian family. The film tells the story of an Indian girl who aspires to be a soccer star against the wishes of her conservative parents. Image from


"Consumers use Google to get to other places, but they log on to Facebook to stay."

--Ylan Q. Mui and Peter Whoriskey, Facebook passes Google as most popular site on the Internet, two measures show, Washington Post

“America is the only country on the face of the earth where you won’t feel like a foreigner once you get in."

--Turkish Ambassador to Washington Namik Tan

"You've got to go to Europe and run for president of Europe!"

--Arnold Schwarzenegger, telling the Los Angeles Times what his children were thinking about him; image from


Via SP by e-mail (no link) -- Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 30

"2010 was the Year We Stopped Talking to One Another."

--Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY; image from article; see also John Brown, "The Newest Killer App for Public Diplomacy"


16 Days, 16 Ways: U.S. Support for Women’s Empowerment in Pakistan - PD-Wali: An inside look at Public Diplomacy work in Pakistan: "From the mega-metropolises of Karachi and Lahore to the countryside near Mardan and Multan, the U.S. Mission in Pakistan is working to improve the lives of Pakistani women and combat gender-based violence. For the recent international '16 Days of Activism' campaign, we organized a series of initiatives to highlight and energize our partnerships with Pakistan’s government and civil society to support women’s rights. Here are 16 ways we are working with Pakistani men and women committed to this cause: ... [Among them:]
2. Educating Future Leaders.

Sharing expertise and building networks to work on common issues are key element of U.S. government professional exchange programs. In 2010, the U.S. government invited more than 25 Pakistani women and men to the United States to build partnerships with Americans to further efforts to empower women, eliminate violence against women and combat human trafficking. 3. Engaging Students. As part of the Embassy’s regular outreach to schools and students on a wide variety of issues and topics, Dr. Marilyn Wyatt participated in a roundtable discussion with gender studies students on December 8, at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. 'Violence against women negatively impacts all of society,' Dr. Wyatt said." Image from article

School opens after 5-year renovation - "Students of the Taufal Elementary School in Haweja lined the entrance of their newly reconstructed school, Dec. 19, clapping to celebrate the building’s grand opening following five years of construction in Kirkuk province. ... The project was made possible by U.S. Army funding through the Commander’s Emergency Response Program. The PRT [Provincial Reconstruction Team] worked closely with the Kirkuk Provincial Council and Haweja district officials to ensure the process of distributing money for the project went smoothly and according to proper procedures by which CERP money should be spent. 'Part of our mission in the region is to find ways to allow economic growth and political stability while encouraging ethic and tribal rivals to work together peacefully,' said Daniel Fennell, the public diplomacy officer of the Kirkuk PRT. 'The PRT was able to help get central planning approval for the project, and to find a middle ground when provincial planners and Haweja district officials disagreed on how the project should be carried out.' Since 2003, the U.S. Government has provided funds to renovate or reconstruct 135 schools in Kirkuk province, including the all-girls school opened in October directly across the street from the Haweja Boy’s School, said Fennell."

Does Hungary's new media law call for the resumption of RFE and/or VOA Hungarian? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Is it time to resume RFE Hungarian? Or VOA Hungarian? Knowing US international broadcasting, it would probably be both. While the Hungarian media council imposes a right-wing tilt on Hungarian media,

USIB under the proposed and now more likely National Center for Strategic Communication (see previous post) would impose a right-wing tilt on USIB. Is it time to resume BBC Hungarian?" Image: Members of extreme-right "Magyar Garda" or Hungarian Guard are seen during their swearing-in ceremony in Budapest, Hungary from

The Shah's Atomic Dreams: More than three decades ago, before there was an Islamic Republic, the West sought desperately to prevent Iran's ruler from getting his hands on the bomb. New revelations show just how serious the crisis was -- and why America's denuclearization drive isn't working - Abbas Milani‎, Foreign Policy: "Of the many inaccuracies and obfuscations of the Iranian nuclear negotiations, one of the most persistent has been the claim that, in questioning the ultimate goals of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, the West is seeking to enforce a duplicitous double standard. According to this line of rhetoric, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi,

the last shah of Iran, was a Western ally -- or, in the language of the regime, a 'lackey' -- and thus America and Europe were willing and eager to help him get not one, but many, reactors. But since the creation of the Islamic Republic in 1979, these critics allege, Iran is being singled out and persecuted. ... Even some progressive intellectuals in the West have bought into this story, either supporting the regime's program or at least criticizing the U.S. stance on Ahmadinejad's current program as hypocritical given its past lenience toward the shah. The U.S. government itself, in what must be considered an inexplicable failure of public diplomacy, has never challenged this narrative -- although it has access to hundreds of pages of documents that disprove the regime's allegations. In fact, Washington was involved in a long-standing and frequently behind-the-scenes diplomatic tussle with the shah over the purpose of his nuclear program. Recently declassified documents from the Carter and Ford presidential libraries; the departments of defense, energy, and state; and the National Security Council (NSC) show that every element of today's impasse between the U.S. government and the Islamic Republic was also present in the negotiations with the shah." Image from article

A Case Study of Ivory Trade Ban - Mimi, The New Diplomacy D: A reflective group blog by some of the students on The New Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University: "After impressive lobbying and negotiation the United States African Elephant Conservation Act of 1988 was passed, forms of public diplomacy were used to heighten the public concerns for the elephants."

Niche diplomacy gets Qatar to its goal‎ - N. Janardhan, Khaleej Times: "Qatar’s proactive role in mediating ways out of some of the region’s crises – Morocco, Sudan, Palestinian territories, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, (and even the Philippines), among others – indicates a new pattern among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in desiring to be seen as more than mere oil-rich economies. It is a new trend of using economic might to enhance their international profile. It also showcases increasing self-confidence, and an attempt to use every crisis and opportunity to advertise their growth and diversifying economies as well.

This economic-cum-foreign policy approach could be associated with two strategies of public diplomacy that small states pursue as a means of gaining international recognition – ‘niche diplomacy’ and ‘nation branding’. While the former is often used by linking their image with a particular cause, the latter “is best described as a customer’s idea about a product; the ‘brand state’ comprises the outside world’s ideas about a particular country. ... Another tool in its public diplomacy armoury has been the Al Jazeera satellite station. While it has caused a few ‘headaches’ for the governments in the region and outside, as a soft power, Al Jazeera has served as a ‘super-gun’ to keep others on the defensive. Given the political capital that its various diplomatic manoeuvres has yielded and could yield, which may also translate into economic gains in future, Doha has remained unfazed by criticism and setbacks." Image from

Khwaja Sarwar Hasan: founder of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs - "Khawaja Sarwar Hasan was the pioneer of public diplomacy in Pakistan. Under his leadership, the PIIA provided a forum for discussion and dialogue on foreign policy and contemporary issues and became a channel for the exchange of views and information between the public and the government. On account of his expertise in international affairs, international law and diplomacy, his advice was widely sought in academic and official circles. He has been described as the father of the study of international relations in Pakistan. He traveled widely and represented Pakistan in conferences, conventions, professional seminars, and goodwill missions throughout the world."

The Twitter Wars - Karim Raslan, "Indeed, social media has become the proxy for public sentiment. This flattens and opens up public diplomacy in much the same way that WikiLeaks has debunked the notion of diplomatic secrecy. We are now forced to scan the Internet to gauge how people think and feel. Political and business elites will have to manage this new and volatile reality, limiting the ability for high-level, backroom deals. However, there’s also an increased blurring of the distinctions between the real and virtual worlds.

Indeed, the Internet has emerged as a parallel universe of sorts. What transpires on the Internet becomes real, whereby our tweets, blogs and e-mails seem to be more reflective of what’s happening than the actual events themselves." Image from

Research Officer - The Australian Embassy and Mission to the European Union, "The Australian Embassy & Mission to the EU in Brussels has a vacancy for a Research Officer. ... Duties Include: ... * Providing support for public diplomacy events and official visits."


The Guantanamo 48: Detaining these prisoners indefinitely and without trial goes against American notions of due process - Editorial, Los Angeles Times: The Obama administration made it clear long ago that it intended to detain 48 Guantanamo inmates indefinitely and without trial. We have been critical of that policy both because the right to a trial is central to American notions of due process and because the administration's criteria for indefinite detention are too broad. These are detainees the government considers too dangerous to be released, but who can't be tried because the evidence against them either wasn't preserved, was tainted by torture or doesn't link them to particular terrorist plots.

Gitmo Is Not a Recruiting Tool for Terrorists: The president is wrong to claim that it is. In fact, al Qaeda and its affiliates rarely mention the prison - Karl Rove, Wall Street Journal

Image from article: A detainee after midday Islamic prayer at Guantanamo Bay

WikiLeaks? More Like Late'nWeak - The Skeptical Bureaucrat: WikiLeaks is a latecomer to the business of publishing U.S. diplomatic documents, and an amateurish one. As the Office of the Historian reminds us in a DipNote post today, the State Department has been publishing its own official diplomatic documents for all the world to see for 150 years now. And, unlike WikiLeaks, it adds scholarly value to the raw documents via a documentary editorial process, and also gets them declassified. There's really no comparison.

Anti-Israel propaganda becomes mainstream entertainment in US‎ - Ryan Jones, Israel Today: Scheduled for a March 2011 release, the new feature film “Miral”

follows the turbulent life of a young Palestinian Arab girl who becomes involved in terrorism against Israel. It unabashedly demands sympathy for this girl and other Palestinian terrorists in their battle with a Jewish state that is portrayed as arbitrarily cruel and barbaric. There is little surprise there, since the film is an adaptation of a book written by director Julian Schnabel’s new Palestinian Arab girlfriend, Rula Jabreal. In a series of interviews following screening of “Miral” at the Toronto and Venice film festivals, Schnabel, who is Jewish, acknowledged that it was not the film’s intent to give a comprehensive background to the conflict or present a “balanced” view. Image from article

Z Word Joins Forces With The Propagandist - Editor, The Propagandist: The Propagandist is excited to announce that the hard-hitting Z Word blog is going to continue its fight under the banner of our magazine. As many of our regular readers will know, Z Word

was created by the American Jewish Committee as an online journal dedicated to exploring the moral, philosophical, political and historical issues arising from the conflicts in the Middle East, particularly - although not exclusively - as they relate to the issues of Zionism, anti-Zionism and antisemitism. Image from article

China imports Israel's methods of propaganda and repression - Jimmy Johnson, Electronic Intifada: The rising unrest in China and Tibet, along with China's ever-increasing economic and political efforts outside its border, have already started to bring more press attention to the collective rights and conditions of workers, Uighurs, Tibetans and others in addition to the common historical criticisms of China's poor record on civil freedoms.

China's studying of Israeli hasbara (the Hebrew term meaning "explanation" but commonly translated as "propaganda") pairs ideologically with its ongoing pacification efforts. And China's adoption of Israeli security technologies means the Chinese response will be built from Israel's industry of Palestinian pacification. Image from article

Trot Music Is S. Korea's Best Propaganda Weapon‎ - The Chosun Ilbo: An old-fashioned style of Korean pop music called trot is South Korea's most powerful psychological weapon against North Korea. Most songs the military has broadcast to North Korean soldiers across the military demarcation line over tannoys along the DMZ were trot (pronounced "teuroteu" and short for "foxtrot"). They stopped in June 2004, but on May 24 this year, after the North sank the Navy corvette Cheonan, the military started airing propaganda programs on FM radio frequencies beamed across the border. The FM radio programs targeting North Korean soldiers are broadcasting a playlist of 184 songs that North Korean residents would like, many among them sung by new-generation trot singers such as

Jang Yoon-jung and Park Hyun-bin. Jang Yoon-jung image from

Hungary's Embrace of Propaganda - Abby Martin, The moves by the Fidesz government to alter the constitution, as well as to control modes of communication and social networks in the country, amount to a current political setting that has unsettling similarities to Germany's slide into fascism before World War II. Dictatorships and developing fascist states have always exploited nationalist rhetoric and Party propaganda to justify the takeover of a free society — the Nazis in Germany believed propaganda was a vital tool in achieving their goals, and produced it under the Orwellian "Ministry of Public Enlightenment."

Iran hangs alleged spy, militant‎
- Borzou Daragahi, Ramin Mostaghim, Los Angeles Times: Ali Saremi, shown in an undated photo,

was accused of distributing propaganda and organizing meetings of the outlawed group Mujahedin Khalq. (National Council of Resistance of Iran)

Former editor of Kurdish-language daily jailed for 138 years in Turkey - Hurriyet Daily News: The former editor in chief of a Kurdish-language newspaper in Turkey was sentenced to 138 years on Thursday for promoting a terrorist organization. Emine Demir, who served as editor of daily Azadiya Welat (Independence of Homeland), was not present at the hearing where she was being tried without arrest. She was charged and convicted of spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, by a Diyarbakır court.

Parties unite against Turkish propaganda - Stefanos Evripidou, Cypriot officials and politicians displayed a rare moment of unity yesterday, joining forces to condemn Turkey’s efforts to exploit politically last week’s incident of basketball hooliganism. APOEL fans attempted to attack players of the Turkish team Pinar Karsiyaka. No players were injured while five police officers were taken to hospital for treatment. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the event to highlight that racism and hatred was on the rise among Greek Cypriots. He attempted to establish a link between the hooligans and the argument that Greek Cypriots did not want peace on the island.

Geraldine Doyle, 86, dies; one-time factory worker inspired Rosie the Riveter and 'We Can Do It!' poster - T. Rees Shapiro, Washington Post: Geraldine Doyle, who died in Lansing, Mich. at age 86, only lasted for two weeks as a factory worker during WWII, but during that time, a photographer snapped her picture.

Not until four decades later did Mrs. Doyle find out that photo was the inspiration for graphic artist J. Howard Miller's iconic "We Can Do It" poster. Image from article

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

December 29

"They [the US] could have the prophet Muhammed doing public relations and it wouldn’t help."

--Osama Siblani, publisher of America’s largest Arab-American newspaper; image from

"[T]he US is the new Byzantium."

--Author Parag Khanna


History of USSR for children via MJ on facebook


Anti-Americanism and Public Diplomacy - Jeetblog, US Blog: "Very occasionally ... the nearly-unthinkable appears in print from within the inner sanctum of US power (this is not a reference to leaked secret cables etc…). A report a few years back from the US Defense Science Board (Task Force on Strategic Communication, 2004) was very explicit. It noted that American public diplomacy could only be effective if weighed in the context of actual US policies, 'conflicts of interest, cultural differences, memories…. [that] shape perceptions and limit the effectiveness of strategic communication.' It also recognized that Muslims’ perceptions of the United States were overwhelmingly negative, citing polls showing that Muslims saw the US as trying to weaken Islam and to dominate the Muslim world. The Report further argued that among Muslim masses there was 'no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-US groundswell…. except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as apostate tyrannies that the U.S. so determinedly promotes and defends.' The Report went on to argue that 'Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom’, but rather they hate our policies.

The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support of Israel and against Palestinian rights… and support for… tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States. The idea that America is bringing democracy to the region was seen as 'self-serving hypocrisy… [because]… in the eyes of Muslims, American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering.' Put simply, the Defense Science Board Report concluded, the US has 'a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none – the United States today is without a working channel of communication to the world of Muslims and of Islam.' ... The Obama effect, while real enough, has not prevented high levels of Muslim dissatisfaction with US policies. But the dominant view in the foreign policy elite mind set, hardwired and unalterable, is the fundamental belief in the rightness of America’s cause and its right to use its power however and whenever it deems necessary to maintain a preponderance of power and to prevent the emergence of rivals." Image from

Wikileaks: Its Impact On World Media - Wayne Madsen, "[O]n September 16, 2009, a private meeting, held under the aegis of the neocon Hudson Institute, was convened in Washington, DC by two neocon figures from the Bush administration, Douglas Feith, the former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, and adviser to the Deputy Undersecretary, Abram Shulsky. ... Last March, Feith and Shulsky issued a report based on the conclusions of the private meeting titled 'Organizing the U.S. Government to Counter Hostile Ideologies.' The report calls for the creation of a new U.S. Information Agency, possibly with the title 'National Center for Strategic Communication,' which would be responsible for conducting information operations,

a policy wonk appellation for propaganda, psychological warfare, and disinformation campaigns around the world. ... In 2008 and 2009, Senator Sam Brownbeck (R-KS) and Representative William 'Mac' Thornberry (R-TX) introduced companion legislation; both titled 'the Strategic Communication Act,' that would have re-create a U.S. Information Agency apparatus. Although no action was taken on the bills, the incoming and more neocon-leaning Congress may seek to push the legislation. ... In what looks appears to be a made-to-order situation for the neocons, the Wikileaks affair, which has placed pressure on Secretary of State and her department to revamp the way it handles its diplomatic communications, has made the idea of a new US Information Agency more palatable, especially considering the damage to the image of the United States arising from the leak of embarrassing cables. ... There is a possibility that Feith's and Shulsky's program is already being adopted, in part, by the Obama administration. ... During the Cold War, the US Information Agency was strictly forbidden by law from targeting the American people with propaganda. In the world of the neocons, where down is up and wrong is right, there will be no curbs in the new global information order." Image from

Twitterers and WikiLeakers - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "The WikiLeaked cables, no longer front-page material, are, in the view I expressed when they first appeared, on the whole positive evidence that American diplomats in the field are doing their centuries-old job: they are carefully (and sometimes with considerable wit) reporting what they observe in the country where they are posted. And their telegrams provide interesting documentation on Embassies' public diplomacy efforts.

However, despite (because of?) the cables' detailed attention to conventional rules of traditionally accepted grammar, style, and coherence, they do read and look (with their antiquated-looking numbered paragraphs and 'reftels' rather than links) totally passé when compared to the now increasingly à la mode, 'minimal language/meaning' and 'cool' graphics of Facebook and Twitter. ... So the WikiLeaks' overly-hyped exposure of classified cables, which supposedly underscored, to some, their importance as 'proof' of the American government's secret, well-planned overseas conspiracies, putatively to take over the globe through a well-orchestrated strategy -- is, to any observer of the new social media, actually an indication of these missives' growing insignificance, given their outdated nature as a mode of modern communication." Image from

U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem Donates New Book Collection to Masaha Children's Library - Palestine News Network: "The northern West Bank village of Masaha received a special book donation to its library from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem on Tuesday. The donation included 40 books from Scholastic Books' My Arabic Library, in addition to a selection of 100 books produced by the United States Government's Regional Book Office in Cairo and Amman. The special ceremony was attended by U.S. Consulate representatives, local governorate officials, and school administrators and faculty. ... The ceremony was attended by Head of the Masaha Village Council Mr. Nedal Amr, Masaha Library Director Ms. Jamila Sarsour, and other representatives from local schools. Speaking on behalf of the U.S. Consulate, Public Diplomacy Officer Esperanza Tilghman

told guests, 'These new additions to the library complement the efforts of volunteers from the Bard College Palestinian Youth Initiative (BPYI), who built this library as a gift to the village.' Ms. Sarsour thanked the U.S. Consulate for its support and expressed her gratitude for the new resources available to the youth community of Masaha 'because of this valuable donation.' The Library in Masaha was constructed in August 2010 by the Bard College Palestinian Youth Initiative." Tilghman image from

EUR Senior Advisor Pandith and S/P Advisor Cohen’s Visit to the UK - "December 28th, 2010 ... SUBJECT: EUR SENIOR ADVISOR PANDITH AND S/P ADVISOR COHEN’S VISIT TO THE UK, OCTOBER 9-14, 2007 ... . 4. (C) With the FCO’s Policy Planning Middle East analyst Richard Shaw, [Jared] Cohen described current USG thinking on the linkage between public diplomacy, counter terrorism, and counter radicalization. Shaw said the UK’s overall approach is focused on how likely Muslims are to turn to violence. Unlike the U.S. September 11 attack, Shaw noted, all of the UK terrorist attacks and would-be attacks have been perpetrated by 'home grown' terrorists. What is considered foreign policy for the USG is both domestic and foreign for the UK, he pointed out. Pandith, Cohen and Shaw discussed the importance of trying to work with youth through web-based technology and communications, since these are some of Al Qaida’s primary tools. They also discussed the limitations of traditional outreach methods, including government-supported exchange programs, which pay off handsomely for those who participate but reach a mere handful of people, many of whom are already inclined to anti-extremist sentiment. Foreign Secretary David Miliband is focused on exactly these types of questions, Shaw said."

Sen. George Voinovich's Farewell Address - ‎George Voinovich, The Hill: "I have to mention JIM INHOFE,

hosting our Bible study each week. He honored me by inviting me to a codel to Africa this year. There is no one in this Senate who has done more for public diplomacy for the United States in Africa than JIM INHOFE." Image from

City manager returns from deployment - Krissi Khokhobashvili, Calaveras Enterprise: "Tim Shearer, city administrator for Angels Camp, has returned from a nearly yearlong deployment overseas, and said he’s coming back to work Jan. 3. ... Shearer put his administrative experience to work in Iraq, where he served as deputy team leader for the Anbar Provincial Reconstruction Team. Located in Anbar Province, the PRT is headed by a senior State Department Foreign Services officer, who in turn leads a team of representatives from several U.S. agencies,

including the Department of Agriculture, Agency for International Development, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice, along with the U.S. military. According to the State Department website, 'PRT activities aim to strengthen governing institutions, encourage social integration through the implementation of confidence-building civic and public diplomacy projects and foster broad-based economic revitalization.'” Image from article: Tim Shearer, left, receives a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Embassy Office of Provincial Affairs while in Iraq.

Trials of Engagement: The Future of Us Public Diplomacy (Diplomatic Studies) [Hardcover] - Amazon: "Ali Fisher (Author), Scott Lucas (Editor)... Martinus Nijhoff (November 30, 2010) ... Price: $163.00"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010South Korean President, Lee Myung-bak, Republic of Korea Public Diplomacy (2010) Campaign Global Success - K2 Global Communications LLC: "In a year of explosive turmoil on the global stage, the Republic of Korea (South) effectively orchestrated a Public Diplomacy campaign of note. The size of New Jersey, South Korea has effectively presented to the world their cultural and tourism assets along with the economic miracle of their economy. The Korean Embassies, Korea Tourism Organization, Asiana Airlines, Multi-National Corporations, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports and the Korean People themselves have come together under the public diplomacy banner we initiated in the late 90’s as Public Relations-Marketing Manager for Korea Tourism Organization, New York Office, TEAM-KOREA."

12/28/10 - Joint Defense Quarterly - Chinese Soft Power in Latin America: A Case Study [January 2011 issue] - R. Evan Ellis, "Currently, 12 of the 23 nations in the world that diplomatically recognize the government of Taiwan are found in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although the People's Republic of China does not publicly threaten to block investment in or loans to countries that do not recognize the PRC, China repeatedly emphasizes the issue in its public diplomacy in the region,

and makes such investments and market access difficult for those countries that do not recognize it, while simultaneously nurturing expectations regarding the opportunities that diplomatically recognizing the PRC could bring." Image from

Khodorkovsky vs. Kremlin: Let the battle begin... - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "Despite all the Christmas-related chaos of the past week, I've been trying to keep up - at least, somewhat - with the news, and the one issue that I keep stumbling upon is the Khodorkovsky trial. I just spent more than an hour reading and watching the coverage by various 'Western' media, in the hope of formulating some sort of a response or coherent position on the issue. But then, I decided I should just highlight the information battle aspect of this whole issue, which in itself is the story here: Russia's public diplomacy vs. Khodorkosvky's personal PR (and, most certainly, political ambitions). ... Seems like Kremlin is set to lose this PR battle, but only to a small extent: the issue will remain a stain on Russian-American relations, for example, and yet Washington is reluctant to be making strong statements on the matter (so far, at least)."

US University Students Learn about Judea and Samaria‎ - Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, Arutz Sheva: "Syracuse University students recently learned about Judea and Samaria from a Zionist standpoint in a unique Skype-chat discussion that may spread to other campuses. Trying to overcome a deluge of anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiment at universities, the innovative program at a Syracuse University's international diplomacy class allowed students to discuss Judea and Samaria with

David Ha’Ivri, director of the Shomron (Samaria) Liaison Office. ... 'This is the first time we have held this type of online conference with university students, Ha’Ivbri told Israel National News. 'It enables our people to address university students via the Internet and gives a voice to the residents of Judea and Samaria.' The idea actually grew out of a question by public diplomacy student Nati Katz, who contacted Ha’Ivri through Facebook and asked him if he could address the class. After an affirmative answer from Ha'ivri, Katz helped organize the online session." Image from

"Semiotics in foreign cultural policy" Patrick Schreiner wins Alexander Rave award - Gero Grandisch, Association for Place Branding & Public Diplomacy (November 29, 2010): "In late November 2010, Patrick Schreiner was awarded the Alexander Rave price for his theoretical work on 'Semiotik der Außenkulturpolitik' (Semiotics in foreign cultural policy). In his dissertation he underscores the relevance of a foreign cultural policy for our thinking in terms of nation states, but he also asks the relevant question why it is believed that culture as foreign policy tool leads to peace and understanding. By defining a culture, ideological borders of nations are defined and thus culture allows identification. At the same time however, culture is believed to have a universal element, which is the reason why culture can connect individuals beyond national borders. Here, Schreiner uses soccer and art exhibitions as vivid example, among others. Another relevant aspect is the role of interpretation of culture, which is the mechanism by which culture works and which again depends on the interpreting entity, be it individual or group of individuals. Schreiner also briefly comments on Soft Power as defined by Joseph Nye."


Is Obama's Muslim Outreach Working? Public support for terrorism is still dropping in Islamic countries, but more slowly than it did during the Bush years - Joshua Muravchik, Wall Street Journal: The data are too slender to sustain the claim that Mr. Bush's policies succeeded in turning much of the Muslim world against terrorism.

But they are substantial enough to inform our understanding that Mr. Obama's approach has achieved little in this regard. Image from

Gitmo Is Not Al Qaeda's 'Number One Recruitment Tool' - Thomas Jocelyn, Weekly Standard: Al Qaeda’s leaders repeatedly focus on a narrative that has dominated their propaganda for the better part of two decades. According to bin Laden, Zawahiri, and other al Qaeda chieftains, there is a Zionist-Crusader conspiracy against Muslims. Relying on this deeply paranoid and conspiratorial worldview, al Qaeda routinely calls upon Muslims to take up arms against Jews and Christians, as well as any Muslims rulers who refuse to fight this imaginary coalition. This theme forms the backbone of al Qaeda’s messaging – not Guantanamo.

The Arab Press' Nazification of Israeli Leaders - Abraham H. Foxman, Huffington Post: The images are stark and ugly: Demonic figures with blood dripping from their hands; Nazis in uniform, carrying out brutal atrocities against defenseless civilians; smug, arrogant figures who orchestrate their influence and dominance over the United States and the international community.

These are not images from some low-budget, B movie horror picture or ripped from the pages of the notorious Nazi propaganda organ, Der Stürmer. They are caricatures of Israeli prime ministers as they have been routinely portrayed over the past decade in editorial cartoons in newspapers across the Middle East, from Dubai to Cairo and beyond. Sadly, we have come to expect mainstream newspapers in the Muslim and Arab world to dabble in pernicious anti-Semitic stereotypes. It is a trend that has been going on almost since the creation of the Jewish state. There is a consistent drumbeat of anti-Semitism in editorial cartoons and images appearing in the mainstream large-circulation daily newspapers in many nations, including Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. Image from article

Selling the World on Russia (Leaving Out the Spies) - Andrew Kramer, New York Times: Adore Creative, a Los Angeles advertising agency, has a client with global influence, deep pockets, a wealth of resources — and an image problem the size of Siberia. That client is Russia, which many outsiders still associate with spies, the gulag, gangsters, breadlines and permafrost, not to mention retrograde politics. These are some of the prickly issues that Rupert Wainwright, Adore’s president and chief creative director, was hired to deal with when Russian officials approached him in 2007. Mr. Wainwright and several other Western advertising agencies have helped Russia score several big victories on the world stage: in the last three years it has won the right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, the 2013 World University Games,

and most recently the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament. Mr. Wainwright’s company made films for all three campaigns. Image from article. Via MB on facebook

Soviet anti-rock and roll propaganda film - Maggie Koerth-Baker, Boing Boing: If there was one thing Americans and the Soviets could agree on in the 1950s, it was that rock and roll was totally going to ruin the youth. Of course, there was some disagreement as to how , exactly, that ruination would come about. While American parents fretted about sex, drugs, and inter-racial dating, the Soviet authorities seem to have been largely concerned with rock music making kids lazy and unproductive. The whole point of this video—in which some troubled teens are picked up behind the GUM while dealing bootleg records, and are then given a stern talking-to by authorities and peers—seems to be that indulging in rock music, booze, and black market imports means you won't be working as hard to build the future of the country. You are, in effect, stealing from your comrades and stealing from yourself.

The Proper Way to Do Propaganda - In Serbia we had more than enough opportunity to be exposed to war propaganda, be it from the NATO or from the Serbian side. By analyzing media throughout the 1999 bombing of Serbia

it was pretty clear that a military machinery such as the NATO keeps on its payroll a bunch of braniacs with a degree in psychological warfare who made sure every statement made by a NATO official, NATO clerk or NATO cleaning lady leaves just the right impact on the given audience at any opportunity. As in every war propaganda, the main objective was to make the war as bureaucratically “clean” as possible, to make the opponent look like the bad guy as much as possible and to present NATO as the good guys. In comparison with this approach, the war propaganda from our side seemed as it was created by a couple of guys on crack – the phrases coined by the RTS (Radio-TV Serbia) news editors during the bombing were probably one of the funniest and most vibrant exercises in creative writing that managed to pass as the war propaganda ever – but they did manage to cheer us up if nothing else. Image from

Franco-German exhibition highlights Napoleon's ambiguous glory - Deutsche Welle: In "Napoleon and Europe, Dream and Trauma" the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany takes on Napoleon in the context of his time. The exhibition gives visitors with a critical and multifaceted look at a challenging topic. The historic exhibition was done in cooperation with the Musee de l'Armee in Paris, where it will be shown in the spring of 2012. It will be the first comprehensive exhibition about Napoleon in France for over 40 years. As one of the exhibition's 12 chapters illuminates, Napoleon was a master of image cultivation and propaganda through artworks such as busts and paintings. And Napoleon's image continues to be influenced by propaganda, the exhibit's curator says.

"Part of the exhibition is the coronation mantle Marlon Brando wore when he played Napoleon, revealing how much the official iconography of Napoleon's time has been passed on by film history and our popular culture," said Benedicte Savoy, curator of the exhibition. Image from article: Napoleon's myth lives on in Marlon Brando's mantle from the movie Desiree

A Retrospective's Tale of Two Cities: Abstract Expressionist New York Museum of Modern Art Through April 25 - Lance Esplund, Wall Street Journal: Abstract Expressionism was a reactionary, liberating and romantic art movement.

It could have happened only in postwar America and only because of — on the shoulders of— European art. See also. Image from article: 'Number 7, 1950,' by Jackson Pollock.


Fast-food restaurants plan a heaping helping of excess: Major chains will be beefing up their menus in 2011 with spicier, cheesier and gooier items. They'll also be testing customers' appetites for higher prices - Richard Mullins, Among new items for those just awoken: • Dunkin' Donuts is launching Pancake Bites, with bite-sized sausage links wrapped in a maple-flavored pancake for $1.59. • Burger King

takes the approach of more is more, offering a new Ultimate Breakfast Platter with scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, a flaky biscuit and three pancakes with syrup. The whole platter weighs in at 1,310 calories, 72 grams of fat and 2,490 milligrams of sodium. • Breakfast goods in development from Taco Bell include a double ham and cheddar melt for $1.79 and a sausage skillet burrito for $2.79. Also on the list: items created with partner brands such as Cinnabon, plus morning wraps with Jimmy Dean sausages. Image from article: Burger King's BK Quad Stacker


"One eagerly awaited talk was about writer Peter Fletcher's meticulous three-year—and still running—sneeze count. With the help of graphs and charts, Mr. Fletcher disclosed that he had sneezed 2,267 times in the past 1,249 days, thus gaining 'a profound understanding of the passing of time.'"

--From: Gautam Naik, "Boredom Enthusiasts Discover the Pleasures of Understimulation: Envoy of Ennui Calls a Meeting; An Energy Bar for Everybody," Wall Street Journal; via ACP on facebook


Masked 'Hillary Clinton' robs Va. bank - Elizabeth Flock, Washington Post: A gun-toting man in a Halloween-style mask robbed a Sterling bank on Dec. 27, authorities said. It appeared that the man wore a Hillary Clinton mask, according to Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

Shortly after 9 a.m., the man walked into the Wachovia bank in Community Plaza, approached a teller, brandished a firearm, and demanded cash, according to Loudoun County sheriff’s office reports. The robber, who authorities described as a black male around 6 feet tall, then fled in an unknown direction with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was seen wearing a black jacket with a red shirt underneath. No injuries were reported, says Kraig Troxell, spokesman for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, which distributed a surveillance image from the robbery. Via MP. Image from article

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 28

"Churchill was prepared to deal with individuals on equal terms if they were 'civilized', which in practice meant rich and well educated or, in the case of one Afghan officer with whom he and some friends dined, good at billiards."

--Richard Toye, Churchill's Empire: The World That Made Him and the World He Made (2010); image from


On the START treaty, did censor? And was VOA 90% imbalanced? - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Blogger News Network, 27 Dec 2010, Ted Lipien: 'On the day the U.S. Senate voted to approve the new arms reduction treaty with Russia, I found an article on the State Depa[r]tment’s website,, which gave a long list of the START treaty’s benefits lauded by the Obama administration but failed to note any of the objections from some key Republican lawmakers and other critics. I posted a short comment that a website devoted to public diplomacy, with a name that implies that it represents the views of the entire American government and the American public, should try to present a more balanced perspective and mention some of the difficulties in getting the U.S.-Russian agreement approved by the Senate. Within only a few minutes my comment was removed. After successfully challenging censorship for more than 30 years by bringing balanced news to communist-ruled Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and other countries,

I was finally successfully censored by my former employer, the United States government. ... I have checked the Voice of America’s recent coverage of the START treaty debate and found that the VOA English Service devoted about 90 percent of its online START news content to views in support of the treaty. While a VOA spokesperson described my claim as incorrect, a text analysis of all recent online VOA English Service stories on this subject can be easily done by anyone using an word count application. By law, the Voice of America, which is funded by American taxpayers to communicate with audiences abroad, is required to offer balanced news coverage. ... The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which has mismanaged the Voice of America for years, should be abolished and journalistic independence and standards at VOA and other government-funded U.S. international broadcasters significantly strengthened under some type of public monitoring and oversight.' [Elliott comment:] Thanks to Ted for providing a provocative essay in the slow time between Christmas and New Year's Day. About the first paragraph, perhaps doesn't use comments from the United States, given Smith-Mundt and all that. Public diplomacy does not represent 'the views of the entire American government and the American public.' It represents the views of the administration's [underscored] foreign policy. The 'public' is overseas, not our [underscored] public. 'Balanced' is not the job of, but rather of US international broadcasting, over in a different agency. About VOA coverage of the START treaty, the most detailed VOA stories about this topic are on 19 December, 21 December, and 22 December, 2010. They seem balanced to me, but read them yourself. (See also RFE/RL, 21 Dec 2010.) The third paragraph is precisely contradictory. 'Public monitoring and oversight' would not strengthen journalistic independence. It would eliminate it. The public broadcasting entities of the world have found only one way to achieve independence, and that is the protection of a multi-partisan board with fixed and staggered terms. Without the BBG, US international broadcasting might continue as bureaucracy and boondoggle, but it would no longer have its independence, and thus no credibility, and thus no audience. It would simply be a waste of money. Free Media Online, 23 Dec 2010, Ted Lipien: 'The Voice of America could have played a major role delivering news and information to Belarus by radio, but it did not have that capability due to bad planning and mismanagement at its parent agency. The Broadcasting Board of Governors, BBG, which manages VOA, terminated VOA Russian FM, shortwave and medium wave radio broadcasts in 2008, just 12 days before the Russian military attack on Georgia. Such radio broadcasts, especially medium wave (AM) from transmitters in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, or Estonia,

which cannot be easily blocked, would have been extremely useful during the emergency in Belarus or any other type of crisis, also in Russia. According to VOA insiders, citizen journalists were able to tell their news to a VOA reporter on the ground, but the Voice of America was unable to deliver the news back to Belarus because it lacked effective program delivery when faced with the blockage of the Internet by the regime in Minsk.' [Elliott comment:] As a VOA stalwart, Ted did not mention archrival RFE/RL's extensive Belarusian Service. It does transmit on shortwave and (via Lithuania) on medium wave. In fact, in response to the post-election crisis, RFE Belarusian shortwave and medium wave transmissions were expanded to provide an all-night service, per a report from Ivo Ivanov to the DX Listening Digest Yahoo! group, 22 Dec 2010. See previous post about same subject." Lipien image (top) from; Elliott image from

Iranian broadcasting official, citing "recent poll," says BBC Persian is less popular than before - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting:"It would have been helpful for Press TV to provide details about the 'most recent poll,' e.g. who conducted it. Does his statement mean the audience is below 25% of what it was eight months ago? If this is true, perhaps increased satellite jamming (terrestrial, because I haven't heard of any increased jamming of satellites themselves in the past eight months) and satellite dish confiscations are the reason. The criticism of VOA Persian by the IRIB official on one side, and that of Larry Klayman (previous post) on the other, suggests that VOA Persian must be doing something right."

Good Daily and Good Luck - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I wrote a while back that Jon Stewart should be the new USIA's chief. I was a tad prescient. The NY Times has an article today comparing Stewart to Murrow." On USIA, see.

India - Address by Foreign Secretary at launch of MEA & PD Division websites - Foreign Sercretary Nirupama Rao: "The MEA website needed a complete re-do, both in terms of its look and feel, as well as, content. Even though it is still work in progress, I am pleased that the new website, which was launched recently, has met those criteria to a large extent. It aims to make available comprehensive and speedy information, on India’s foreign relation activities, as well as, Ministry’s views on salient Foreign Policy issues.

Besides the media, academia, Indian and international governmental agencies, businesses and travellers, the new website is also meant to be a resource for youth and students. Encouraged by the response, and I may mention that the website is currently receiving close to 300,000 hits daily, which is twice as much as the earlier website, we have started work on an more ambitious integrated MEA Portal. It is meant to introduce uniformity in the look, feel, content and navigational ease for all the websites of the Ministry and its Missions/Posts abroad." Rao image from

The Holocaust's Boomerang Effect On Public Diplomacy - "I was never comfortable with the way Israel has over-emphasized the connection between the Holocaust and the founding of the state. ... There are connections between the Holocaust and Israel's founding. But years of over-emphasis are having a boomerang effect on Israel's public diplomacy."

Huge Jewish Internet propoganda [sic] machine exposed - "Hasbara refers to the propaganda efforts to sell Israel, justify its actions, and defend it in world opinion. Using contemporary euphemisms, it is Public diplomacy for Israel, or using a pejorative interpretation, then it is apologia. Israel portrays itself as fighting on two fronts: the Palestinians and world opinion. The latter is dealt with hasbara. The premise of hasbara is that Israel's problems are a matter of better propaganda, and not one of an underlying unjust situation."

Russia - The Major Foreign Policy Events of 2010 - "24. Consistent work was carried out to intensify collaboration with the Russian NGO community of foreign policy orientation. Pursuant to the executive orders signed in February by the President of the Russian Federation, the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund

was established and work on the formation of the Russian Council on International Affairs is continuing." Gorchakov image from

Egypt - The Third Ministerial Meeting for Asia-Middle East Dialogue Countries - "The Third Ministerial Meeting for Asia-Middle East Dialogue (AMED) was held on 15th, 16th December in Thailand under the title of 'Strengthening Cooperation towards Common Prosperity'. Thirty-nine Countries participated in the meeting, where the Egyptian delegation was presided by Assistant Foreign Minister, Ambassador Rauf Saad. ... Ambassador Rauf Saad has called on the Dialogue states to launch an initiative entitles 'A Poverty-Free World' in the next decade, in order to eliminate this problem and its negative social and economic consequences. He also called for sustaining cooperation on the public diplomacy level as a new axis for dialogue and closeness between the parliaments of the two regions."

Even tax collectors are anti-imperialist nowadays -" "In a previous blog [November 10] I gave some tips on how the public diplomacy division in the foreign affairs department should go about during their public relations exercises. Boy, are they going to need these and many more after the multimillion dollar anti-imperialist youth festival started in Pretoria this week. ... Just the basic facts are already cause for mirth and hilarity – the imperialistic amounts to be splurged, the imperialistic scale of the slogans, the imperialistic arrogance

in all the sweeping resolutions. How will our under-resourced foreign affairs department handle it all? If they had a clue, we are not seeing any sign of it. We should be having furious spin and PR contortions by now. Instead our foreign minister has been told to complain to Hillary Clinton about WikiLeaks." Image from


WikiLeaks Disrupts US Propaganda Machinery: Israel’s Motor Scooter Bombers in Iran? - John Stanton, An intriguing document found in the WikiLeaks dump is a cable concerning the spread of Israel’s Mafia. At first glance, it seems inconsequential as every country has organized crime rings operating freely. Besides, one never knows when members of the mafia might be useful for national security purposes. At any rate, we learn that a few years back an Israeli mafia don was assassinated by a motor scooter bomber in the same manner as the Iranian physicist recently executed in Tehran.

Western influence turns yoga on its head in Mumbai - Gail Sheehy, USA TODAY: "Yoga offers many benefits, from mind control to pain relief, but I'd never heard that weight loss was one of them. A huge banner outside of Gold's Gym touted its 'Fat Burning Yoga Package.'

The gym is a California import with franchises all over Southeast Asia. I suspected an American commercialization of India's greatest contribution to self-care." Image from

N.B.A. in India, in Search of Fans and Players - Jeremy Kahn, New York Times: The success of N.B.A. Commissioner David Stern’s 25-year crusade to globalize basketball is often summed up in two words: Yao Ming. After Yao, a 7-foot-6 center from Shanghai, was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2002, the league attracted hundreds of millions of new fans in China.

And though Yao is out for the season with a stress fracture that could end his professional career, the N.B.A.’s international march continues.This season, the league will play its first regular-season games in Europe, a two-game matchup in March between the Nets and the Toronto Raptors in London. And having conquered China, the N.B.A. has its sights fixed on Asia’s other big emerging market: India. Image from article: The N.B.A. has built community basketball courts in neighborhoods across India, like Nagpada in Mumbai.

Hitler’s Triumph of the Will & Christ - Kelly O'Connell, The movie Triumph of the Will was created to show the power and majesty of Nazism. Some consider it the greatest work of propaganda in history. It celebrates Nazism and especially the rise of Adolf Hitler (his speech) (entire film here). The message is Nazism is the new religion, the new salvation for people, where mankind saves himself through heroic deeds. Nietzsche celebrates this in Ecce Homo, demanding humans reject all previous beliefs and create a new moral system. Ironically, this book decisively proved Nietzsche was hopelessly insane. Hitler himself chose the title, an explicit refutation of Martin Luther‘s Bondage of the Will and German Christianity in general. It’s easy to see now Hitler was likewise on an insane mission to replace God with the swastika over human ambition. This was set against Luther’s mantra, “The just shall live by faith.”

Now THIS is Soviet-style propaganda - Chemjobber: Image from article


Frito-Lay to make snacks from natural ingredients - Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY: An unlikely name is about to step into the natural foods world: Frito-Lay. Today, the world's largest snackmaker — often mocked by nutritionists for its Cheetos and Doritos — will unveil a revamped product line for 2011, with 50% of its snacks made from all-natural ingredients. "This is the largest evolution we've ever had in our product line," says Ann Mukherjee, chief marketing officer at Frito-Lay. Until now, she says, 30% of its line was "all natural."

For example: •A bag of Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortilla Chips will lose all of these additives: monosodium glutamate, sodium diacetate and artificial colors. •Lay's Barbeque chips will drop the monosodium glutamate and some other additives. But don't look for major changes anytime soon in artificially flavor-laden Cheetos or Doritos. Image from article