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

2 comments: said...

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