Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 8

"[P]eople talk too much in these cables. You don't have to write everything you think."

--Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; image from; see also John Brown, "10 Percent Intellectual": The Mind of Condoleezza Rice" PRWatch (site is currently undergoing maintenance)

"The State Department may urge FSOs [Foreign Service officers] not to 'write it down,' but 'say it over the secure phone.' Or not say it at all. That is the greatest danger: silencing our diplomats."

--The compiler of this blog, immodestly quoting himself; from his "WikiLeaks: Why They Help American Diplomacy"


Draft Report on the cultural dimensions of the EU’s external actions (2010/2161(INI))
Committee on Culture and Education Rapporteur: Marietje Schaake


'Islamabad agreed to US drone attacks' - Press TV: "Pakistan's actions to allow US drone attacks to increase in its land together with examination of recently released Wikileaks cables clearly show how emphatically the US controls Pakistan. Islamabad-based investigative journalist, Navid Ahmad, joined Press TV to comment on the issue. ... Ahmad: Well, after Wikileaks, every American diplomat all over the world stood naked in front of everybody and all the sophisticated terminologies and nice soundbites were absolutely shallow and most of the leaders are seeing themselves as insulted. They may not be saying it in public, but definitely that is the case. All except for one Pakistani politician that has come out clean after the barrage of leaks we have seen and that is Imran Khan.

Everybody else is trying to hide and trying to shy away from their connections with the US embassy and US officials and this is going to cause a serious blow to the trust that these Americans had developed within the Pakistani political, media and civil society circles. [These are] Serious consequences for the US, since public diplomacy has been on a hype ever since Mr. Obama took over and this is not going to work; a serious campaign behind the doors in Islamabad by Washington through its embassy to speak to those leaders whose names have appeared in Wikileaks so that there could be clarification that this is not what we meant and these are irresponsible acts. Some of the cables were not mentioned, which really spoke high of them. They are trying to do some damage control, which seems impossible and it will have plenty of social upheaval and the American sentiment within Pakistan would have another rationale to be justified." Image from article

Wikileaks: Desperate Housewives does more to combat jihad than US propaganda - "Satellite broadcasts of hit US shows including Desperate Housewives,

Late Show With David Letterman and Friends are better at persuading Saudi youth to reject violent jihad than hundreds of millions of dollars worth of US propaganda, informants have told the US embassy in Jeddah. The shows, which are broadcast uncensored and with Arabic subtitles on the country's MBC4 channel, are being permitted as part of the Saudis' 'war of ideas' against extremist elements. Rotana, a channel part owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, is also proving popular. And according to a Wikileaks cable entitled David Letterman: Agent of Influence, they have had a greater influence for good than the US-funded al-Hurra TV news channel. ... Satellite broadcasts of hit US shows including Desperate Housewives, Late Show With David Letterman and Friends are better at persuading Saudi youth to reject violent jihad than hundreds of millions of dollars worth of US propaganda, informants have told the US embassy in Jeddah. The shows, which are broadcast uncensored and with Arabic subtitles on the country's MBC4 channel, are being permitted as part of the Saudis' 'war of ideas' against extremist elements. Rotana, a channel part owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, is also proving popular. ... The diplomats said that certain themes in American films also seemed to appeal to the Saudi audience, such as heroic honesty in the face of corruption - a specific example being the George Clooney film Michael Clayton, and respect for the law over self-interest, as highlighted in the Al Pacino/Robin Williams thriller Insomnia. An unspecified drama, repeated during an Eid holiday, in which a husband has to deal with the erratic behaviour of his alcoholic wife, was also popular for its themes of supportive behaviour in relationships." Image with caption from article: Popular: Desperate Housewives is one of the many US TV shows that has proven a hit with Saudi viewers

In Saudi Arabia, U.S. Movies and TV Shows Are Doing More to Prevent Jihad Than U.S. Propaganda - David Chen, "According to Wikileaks cables, satellite broadcasts of U.S. TV shows and films are doing more to prevent Saudi youth from participating in jihad than U.S. government-funded propaganda. The report comes from The Guardian via a leaked diplomatic cable entitled 'David Letterman: Agent of Influence.' According to the cable, uncensored American television, which is being broadcast on Saudi Arabia’s MBC 4 as part of their 'war of ideas' against extremism, have been more effective curbing notions of jihad than the U.S.’s al-Hurra TV news channel. The latter has already racked up a $500 million tab for U.S. taxpayers, but doesn’t seem to be able to have the emotional power of Desperate Housewives or Friends. ... The fact that pop culture and entertainment trumps outright propaganda is a simultaneous affirmation of subtlety as the best plan of attack, and an indictment of government waste." Image from article

Saudi Arabia deploys Eva Longoria against extremists: WikiLeaks cables: Saudi TV execs reveal youngsters would rather watch Desperate Housewives than wage jihad - "Actress Eva Longoria and talk show host David Letterman have made cameo appearances in a secret US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks. In the message, staff at the American consulate in Jeddah say that official US government propaganda is far less effective at turning Saudi youth away from militancy than imported US TV programmes broadcast by the kingdom's own satellite channels. ... The US government reportedly sunk $500m (£316m) into Alhurra, the pan-Middle Eastern satellite channel, between 2004 and 2008. Despite this, it has struggled as an effective propaganda tool, mainly because of its image as a PR offensive run by the US military. The station has also made a number of broadcasting gaffes thanks to its hiring of local staff. According to the Wall Street Journal, in December 2006 Alhurra transmitted a 68-minute call to arms against Israel by Hezbollah and deferential coverage of a Holocaust denial conference hosted by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In contrast, local Saudi channels feature stars such as Eva Longoria in Desperate Housewives, which like the other US shows, is uncensored and broadcast with Arabic subtitles. They go down very well 'in remote, conservative corners of the country'according to one TV exec, who added: 'you no longer see Bedouins, but kids in Western dress who are now interested in the outside world.'" See also (1) (2) (3) (4).

Alhurra's interview with Secretary Clinton widely cited by other news outlets - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Afghan TV police drama delivers message with zest: ‎Partially funded by the U.S. and aided by Australian TV veterans, the series 'Eagle Four' follows an elite Afghan police squad. It has a political agenda but gets points for being entertaining - Laura King, Los Angeles Times: In real life, the Afghan police are better known for illiteracy, drug abuse and shaking down citizens than for daring exploits worthy of the big screen — or the small one. But on the popular new TV series 'Eagle Four,' the squad's resourcefulness, heroism and teamwork never fail to carry the day. The show, which has slick production values and a noir-ish soundtrack, is midway through its initial run of 13 episodes, and has already garnered a large, loyal following on Tolo TV, the country's most-watched station. ... Most viewers are probably unaware that the series is

financed at least in part by the public diplomacy arm of the U.S. Embassy, which acknowledged its monetary support while declining to disclose a dollar amount. A team of Australian TV veterans was brought in to mentor the Afghans working on the show. Boosting public respect for the Afghan security forces and drawing higher-quality recruits are crucial to U.S. hopes that the police and army will be ready to assume responsibility for the country's security in three years — a goal some consider way too optimistic. Image and caption from article: In a scene from the Afghan police drama "Eagle Four," a series about an elite squad aimed at boosting the image of the country's police force, can be seen Faramjan Abrahim, who plays 'Baktash," and Maryam Sharify, who plays "Ludmilla," a tech-savvy female officer.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Warsaw Warned Obama Administration On Snubbing Poland - Ted Lipien, "A secret cable from the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw released by WikiLeaks shows former American Ambassador Victor H Ashe

being deeply disappointed and frustrated with the Obama Administration’s treatment of Poland. The leaked cable lists a number of public diplomacy missteps by the Obama White House, including the President’s decision not to accept the Polish government’s invitation to attend the September 1, 2009 commemoration in Gdansk of the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II." Ashe image from article

State's Diplopedia could help it avoid a WikiLeaks breach: Secure system brings diplomats into the 21st century - GCN Staff: "State is using social-media tools to broaden the reach of its diplomacy beyond government-to-government relations. As a result, using social media has an external focus through the Office of Public Diplomacy and an internal focus through the Office of eDiplomacy, according to State officials. State uses multimedia tools, including YouTube, Facebook, blogs, Flickr and Twitter. For example, DipNote, State’s official blog, provides context and behind-the-scenes insights on the foreign policy headlines. On the internal side, there is Diplopedia. State is looking for ways to take advantage of this wiki with the intelligence community’s Intellipedia, an internal online encyclopedia. Other eDiplomacy social-media initiatives include the Virtual Presence Posts program, through which State is trying to broaden its engagement with cities, communities, regions and countries that don't have a U.S. embassy or consulate building. For example, most Virtual Presence Posts have a Web site, and diplomats in nearby embassies or consulates may use travel, public outreach programs, media events, or online webchats to create a virtual presence for local populations."

I am Spartacus- Lennart Regebro, "This is a randomly picked document from the cablegate of Wikileaks. ... ¶3. (SBU) ACTION REQUEST: Addressee Posts are instructed to deliver the talking points to Host Governments in paragraph 4 on Thursday, September 17, as a non-paper, but no earlier than 9:30 a.m. (Easter Daylight Time - Washington, D.C.). USNATO, Embassies in NATO Capitals (except for Embassies Warsaw and Prague), Embassy Tokyo, Embassy Moscow, and Embassies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) are instructed also to deliver the tailored talking points for NATO, Japan, Russia, and the GCC States in paragraphs 5-8. Action Request addressees should attempt to provide pre-notifications immediately prior to the public announcement of the Presidential decision but not before 9:30 a.m. EDT; with the different time zones involved, Washington recognizes that some notifications may not occur until after the White House public announcement.

Posts may draw upon the Questions and Answers to be provided reftel for use with Host Governments on an 'if asked' basis, or as Posts determine is appropriate. The Questions and Answers in reftel may be drawn upon by Posts but should not/not be handed over to Host Governments. Materials for public diplomacy (e.g., Fact Sheet, Questions and Answers, and POTUS Statement) will be provided to Posts septel. Posts please notify the Department regarding date of delivery, recipients, and reaction, if any. END ACTION REQUEST." Image from

Under Secretary of State Judith A. McHale To Lead U.S. Observer Delegation to Bali Democracy Forum Meeting - Media Note Office of the Spokesman Washington, DC: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith A. McHale will lead the United States observer delegation to the third annual meeting of the Bali Democracy Forum (BDF) on December 9-10, 2010 in Bali, Indonesia. Indonesia launched the Bali Democracy Forum to promote regional cooperation in democracy and political development. The number of participants continues to grow, with more than 50 participant and 40 observer delegations invited this year. Under Secretary McHale will express United States support for the Forum and highlight our commitment to the growth and consolidation of democracy in Asia. Under Secretary McHale's visit will reaffirm U.S. and Indonesian 'shared values of freedom, pluralism, tolerance, democracy and respect for human rights' as referenced in the Joint Statement issued by President Obama and President Yudhoyono during President Obama's recent visit to Indonesia." Via DS

Event Info: atamerica Surfing Weekend - free of charge! - "The new public diplomacy facility of the United States, @america, would like to invite you to attend 'Surfing Weekend' for movies with talk shows by American and Indonesian surfers."

Sham on You, Ben Barber - John Brown, Huffington Post: Ben Barber's recent Salon article, "WikiLeaks and the sham of 'public diplomacy': Our diplomats spout jingoistic nonsense about American supremacy -- instead of engaging with the rest of the world," shows his heart in the right place but his history way out in left field. ... [H]e's way out in left field, far away from history, when he claims that '[T]he field of international relations that is called 'public diplomacy' is a new breed

of animal that emerged only in the past 15 years -- since Jesse Helms, installed as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after the 1994 elections, began pushing for the USIA to be absorbed by the State Department and shut down, something that officially happened in 1999.' In fact, 'public diplomacy' was coined in the mid-1960s (though the term had existed before) by Dean Edmund Gullion and his colleagues at the Fletcher School of Diplomacy." Image from critical of State PD; McHale responds - Mark Overmann, Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale issued a response to Barber’s article, quoted ... below: ... 'American public diplomacy's mission is to support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world. This is being done in ways that build on the foundation established by Edward R. Murrow and the U.S. Information Agency, but also meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. ... I share Mr. Barber's positive memories of American Libraries and Centers, and I was therefore proud to participate in the launch last week of a new, publicly accessible, high-tech center -- @america -- in Jakarta, Indonesia. @america is just the latest proof of the Department of State's commitment to public diplomacy which seriously and truly engages with foreign communities and audiences on the basis established by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, of mutual respect and mutual interests.'"

Syria’s lies and what the West can learn from them - "It is nice to see that the State Department is not quite as clueless as its public statements and actions seem to indicate. They know when Arabs leaders are lying; they know that Israel is not the major obstacle to peace; they know that Iran strikes more fear into Arab leaders’ hearts than anything that the Jewish state could possibly do. ... The Western diplomatic fear that relations would be damaged by publicizing Arab misdeeds is overriding the huge potential benefits of threatening to expose those very misdeeds – to publicly shame the Arab leadership. In this way the Arabs can be forced to play the diplomatic game on a level playing field, not one where they can lie with impunity without any public consequence. After all, even as this Syrian intrigue was happening, the US was preparing to return an ambassador to Syria – showing a public diplomacy completely at odds with what was really happening. Any way you slice it, this was a huge diplomatic victory for Syria and proof that its policy of lying to the US has no real consequences outside of hidden diplomatic outrage, which is meaningless to those within the shame culture. Diplomats have a huge weapon in their hands – the truth – and they need to start using that weapon a lot more than they do today."

NATO's new Strategic concept "New Serbia, new NATO" discussed and debated - "NATO's new Strategic concept, which was adopted during the Lisbon Summit in late-November, has been discussed and debated today during an international conference, entitled 'New Serbia, new NATO - Future Vision for the 21st Century'. ... The two-day conference was organized by the Forum for Ethnic Relations,

TransConflict Serbia and Klub 21, and supported by the Czech Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Balkan Trust for Democracy and NATO Public Diplomacy Department." Image from

Wikileaks, Al Jazeera, And The Qatari Public Diplomacy Challenge - Lina Khatib, Newswire – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The latest round of WikiLeaks carried some bad news for Qatari public diplomacy, in the form of US embassy cables stating that the Qatari government is using Al Jazeera as a political bargaining tool. ... The strength of Al Jazeera as a public diplomacy tool for Qatar lies in its credibility.

If that credibility is called into question, Al Jazeera will be perceived as yet another regime mouthpiece among many in the Middle East, and Qatar’s hard work would go to waste." Khatib image from article

Translation as Literary Ambassador - Larry Rohter, New York Times: "Among foreign cultural institutes and publishers, the traditional American aversion to literature in translation is known as 'the 3 percent problem.' But now, hoping to increase their minuscule share of the American book market — about 3 percent — foreign governments and foundations, especially those on the margins of Europe, are taking matters into their own hands and plunging into the publishing fray in the United States. Increasingly, that campaign is no longer limited to widely spoken languages like French and German.

From Romania to Catalonia to Iceland, cultural institutes and agencies are subsidizing publication of books in English, underwriting the training of translators, encouraging their writers to tour in the United States, submitting to American marketing and promotional techniques they may have previously shunned and exploiting existing niches in the publishing industry. 'We have established this as a strategic objective, a long-term commitment to break through the American market,' said Corina Suteu, who leads the New York branch of the European Union National Institutes for Culture and directs the Romanian Cultural Institute. 'For nations in Europe, be they small or large, literature will always be one of the keys of their cultural existence, and we recognize that this is the only way we are going to be able to make that literature present in the United States.' ... Words Without Borders, founded in 2003, publishes books in translation online and also provides an outlet where translators can offer samples of their work in hopes of interesting commercial publishers." Image from

Article on Turkey's Public Diplomacy Published - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "My article 'Turkish Public Diplomacy: The Genocide Resolution Challenge' was recently published in The Washington Review of Turkish and Eurasian Affairs (free access). I've got to admit - it wasn't all that easy to write. However, I believe academic inquiry should go beyond national - and more importantly, nationalist - interests. In a sense, it was a challenge I set for myself. So no, I have no qualms about it."

China growing frustrated with North Korea, says Australia - Rob Taylor, Reuters: "China is growing increasingly frustrated

with North Korea and calls by the West for it to curb Pyongyang overestimate Beijing's influence in the reclusive state, said Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd. ... 'For the Chinese this is tough, when the North Koreans engage in provocative, destabilizing behavior, as they do unfortunately with increasing regularity,' Rudd told Reuters in an interview. 'I know privately the Chinese spend a lot of work, a lot of time, on the regime in Pyongyang, whatever their public diplomacy might be from time to time," he said. 'My sense of it is that Chinese leaders are becoming increasingly frustrated by what's going on in North Korea.'" Image from

Chinese Domestic Debates on Soft Power and Public Diplomacy - Maria Wey-Shen Siow, Asia Pacific Bulletin: "Overall, the Chinese debate on soft power fluctuates somewhat between two bipolar extremes. On the one hand there is immense domestic pride in Chinese growth and the historical depth of Chinese civilization. On the other hand, there is a tremendous awareness of China's inadequacy in effectively communicating Chinese development as benign, and this has, in part, resulted in a sense of inferiority. Furthermore, taking into account China's lack of universal values, ideology and cultural icons, this country still has a long way to go in improving its international image, and thus being simultaneously admired, and respected, by its peers." Via LB

ADOC and Taiwanese Niche Diplomacy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "My friend Jonathan Seidman, who hosts the Soft Power program on Radio Taiwan International did a story about ADOC, the APEC program spearheaded by Taiwan to reduce the digital divide. I wrote about ADOC as a possible niche diplomacy area for Taiwan and a good source of Taiwanese public diplomacy. You can hear it on the November 13th air date. Also, on his December 4th show, he explores a bit of Taiwanese gastrodiplomacy from the Taiwan Chef Association."

Shashi Tharoor to speak at public diplomacy conference - "Once criticised for his habit of tweeting on serious policy issues, Shashi Tharoor has now been invited to speak Friday at a conference on public diplomacy organised by the external affairs ministry in which he was a junior minister till a few months ago. With 24x7 news channels setting public agenda and new age media influencing discourse on key global issues, the ministry is organising a day-long conference Friday and a workshop the next day where experts would focus on soft power and public diplomacy. Tharoor,

who will speak on 21st century statecraft and soft power, is expected to focus on the use of new age media like social networking site Twitter in connecting to the people over foreign policy and public issues. ... Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will deliver the ketnote address at the seminar. Nicholas J. Cull, professor of public diplomacy at Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California (USC), will speak on the concept of nation branding. Philip Seib, professor of journalism and public diplomacy at the USC, Eytan Gilbao of Israel and Nick Gowing of BBC will also be speaking at the event. The conference is the brainchild of Navdeep Suri, joint secretary (public diplomacy) in the ministry." Tharoor image from

* How Jews Try To Brainwash Gentiles On College Campuses * - "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, 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."

"Das Politische anders denken" Frühling der Bürgerlichkeit? Europa braucht nicht allein das Vertrauen der Märkte, sondern vor allem das Vertrauen seiner Bürger - "Und was macht Westerwelle bitte? Der Mann ist doch unser Außenminister! Könnte Westerwelle etwas weniger zwanghaft staatstragend wirken und etwas 'rheinischer' werden? Die Politik muss sich doch mal alle auf den Fall vorbereiten, dass der Fortgang ganz entscheidend von ihrer kommunikativen Wirkung und Kraft der Rede abhängt. Mit verstockter und hartzherziger Bedenkenträger-Mentalität geht es nicht voran.

Am Ende geht wegen Zaghaftigkeit und Ängstlichkeit die Sache noch schief. Es muss auch 'Public Diplomacy' geübt werden und die Ansprache der europäischen Völker geplant werden. Die EU hat soviel Gelder. Die könnten auch mal ein hochklassiges mehrsprachiges Debattenmagazin europweit in zahlreichen Sprachen auflegen. Außer zaghaften Internetseiten tut sich wenig. Warum gibt es sowas nicht für Studenten als Begleitung zum Erasmus-Programm? Geld ist doch genug da. Das ist Frage der Prioritätensetzung. Wollen manche Bürokraten in Brüssel überhaupt eine Stärke Rolle der öffentlichen Meinung?" Image from

R.I.P. Phil Taylor - Matt Armstrong, Mountain Runner: "Phil Taylor, professor of International Communications at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, passed away on 6 December 2010. Phil was a terrific and underappreciated researcher and thinker on the subject of influence and propaganda.

A prolific writer on the subjects, he devoted tremendous time and energy into unveiling both historical and contemporary propaganda." Taylor image from

Counterinsurgency Today: A Review of Eric T. Olson's "Some of the Best Weapons for Counterinsurgents Do Not Shoot" - Efe Sevin, "Efe Sevin (BSc, METU '08 MA, Emerson College '10) researches public diplomacy, political communication, public opinion and nation/place branding subjects. As a Fulbright Visiting Scholar, he published 'Controlling the Message: A Strategic Approach to Nation Branding Processes.'"

Believe it or not, I have been busy... - "I can't go to Munich without partaking in, well, public diplomacy, so to speak. And you all know what that means, right? (Plenty of ill-concieved [sic] Tweets, that's for sure!)"


Petraeus Pumps Up Propaganda Prior to Afghanistan Pow-Wow - Jim White, In a move that he has used many times before, David Petraeus is putting out inflated claims on his “training” prowess in advance of a war strategy review. This time, Petraeus’ claim comes through an ISAF press release dated Monday, with the headline “Afghan Force Strength Growing Faster than Projected”.

This looks like a direct repeat of September, 2004 when he burst onto the political scene by penning a Washington Post Op-Ed in which he falsely claimed great progress on troop training in Iraq and helped George W. Bush to re-election. Image from article: Thanksgiving at Camp Marmal

New Taliban Video Shows Captive US Soldier‎ - Rob Quinn, Newser: The Taliban's only known American captive appears in a new propaganda video posted online. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in Afghanistan nearly 18 months ago, was last seen in a Taliban video released in April.

There is no indication when the scenes in the video were recorded, but Bergdahl's family have confirmed that the thin Westerner that appears in the video is the missing soldier, CNN reports. Bergdahl image from article

Julian Assange: Neocon Tool? - Robert Wright, New York Times: Engagement is the search for win-win outcomes to non-zero-sum games. As any game theorist can tell you, a key to reaching those outcomes is communication, and the communication is most fruitful when there is mutual trust. Well, thanks to Assange, many nations will now hesitate to speak candidly with us, fearing that their private utterances might go public.

Propaganda by earthlings for earthlings - Selim Savaş Genç, OK, so we’ve criticized American diplomats. Their style was bad, they had no sense of control over information, no standards and they did a lot of gossiping. If we were to make a comparison based on an argument to the contrary, then we should ask what all the Turkish diplomats that have been assigned to different parts of the world do. Do our diplomats make regular visits to other people, collect data and relay it to Ankara? How many Turkish diplomats have local columnists, academicians and ministers as friends and can obtain information from them? Will Turkish diplomats go after bigger targets as Turkey’s vision expands? How much information do they know about the country they are working in compared to the intelligence they have on Turkish citizens living abroad? In other words, dear reader, when will we have our own WikiLeaks website? This is the critical question.

Moscow’s warm and poetic heart - Adrian Brijbassi, One of the great victims of the Cold War’s propaganda was the reputation of the Russian man and woman. Icy, serious, malicious, mechanical, soulless is what we were told about them.

Arrive in Moscow and see flowers placed at the foot of statues erected in tribute to the nation’s writers, visit a classical music performance at the Bolshoi Theatre attended by people of all walks, learn about the conflicts endured and how this nation’s World War II memorial museum is decorated with 27,000 glass tears because it couldn’t hold 27 million to honour every life lost, and you will never again perceive Russians as anything but a people with heart; and one that’s perpetually mending at that. Image from article


"What does a conspiracy compute? It computes the next action of the conspiracy."

--WikiLeaks's Julian Assange

"Rock and roll, culturally speaking, was a decisive element in loosening up communist societies and bringing them closer to a world of freedom."

-Andras Simonyi, Ambassador of Hungary to the United States from 2002 to 2007, born in Budapest in 1952; the lead quote in the “explanatory section” of EU’s Draft Report on the cultural dimensions of the EU’s external actions (see above); image from

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