Friday, May 6, 2011

May 5-6

“After you pass the written test, the Qualifications Evaluation Panel review, the Oral Assessment, and the Final Suitability Review, you are placed on a rank-ordered track-specific register based on your OA score and any language or veterans’ points. After once you are on the register, whether you get an offer depends on your score, the scores of other people on the register, and the needs of the State Department, and the budget, etc.”

--Ren's Micro Diplomacy, noting that "So far, the most succinct explanation of the FSO [Foreign Service officer] selection process I’ve found"; image from


Under Secretary of State Judith A. McHale Traveling to South Africa and Senegal - Media Note Office of the Spokesman Washington, DC May 6, 2011, U.S Department of State: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith A. McHale is traveling to South Africa and Senegal

May 5-13, 2011, to highlight the important role of young Africans in shaping the future of their continent." Image from

Live From the Middle East, It’s Mediocre U.S. Propaganda! - David Szydloski, [April 25]: "Early last week, the Washington Post reported that newly released cables from Wikileaks show that the United States has been secretly funding a London-based satellite television station, Barada TV, produced by exiled Syrian dissidents, to the tune of at least $6 million during the last six years. This is hardly surprising. The United States has been using television and radio as soft power supplements to overt military action since at least World War II. The biggest player in U.S. media spin overseas is the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which, in its own words, is an 'independent, autonomous entity responsible for all US government and government sponsored, non-military, international broadcasting.' It’s the BBG’s job to supervise and develop a plethora of television, radio, and internet 'surrogate programs,' which include: Voice of America radio stations, which broadcast in 59 languages (from Amharic to Uygher), Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and Radio/TV Martí—a project run by anti-Castro Cuban exiles that, according to a communications professor speaking on NPR’s On The Media, Cubans barely listen to. Many people would call the BBG’s work propaganda. The government calls it 'public diplomacy.' Whatever you call it, the BBG does not come cheap."

Government-funded propaganda operation in Miami exposed: More than 2,200 pages of documents obtained through FOIA - Gloria La Riva, "The BBG [Broadcasting Board of Governors] and its Office of Cuba Broadcasting have operated Radio Martí since 1985 and TV Martí since 1990. They broadcast into Cuba with the intent to destabilize the government. They also broadcast directly into Miami. The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 regulating U.S. 'public diplomacy' abroad—Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio and TV Martí, etc.—prohibits the U.S. government from funding activities to influence and propagandize domestic public opinion, see 22 U.S.C. § 1461. The U.S. government has funneled nearly half a billion dollars into the Office of Cuba Broadcasting in Miami.

With an annual budget nearing $35 million, the OCB [Office of Cuba Broadcasting] and BBG put on their payroll domestic journalists to broadcast the same message inside and outside the United States on Cuba-related issues, effectively violating the law against domestic dissemination of U.S. propaganda. The earliest documents obtained thus far from the BBG go back to Nov. 1, 1999. Despite the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] petition request for data on the journalists going back to the date of the shoot-down in 1996—which also covers the date of the Five’s 1998 arrest—the BBG has so far refused to comply, claiming that contracts and other documents have been destroyed. These contracts evidence the U.S. government’s payments to journalists in Miami whose reports constituted a sustained effort to create an atmosphere of hysteria and bias against Cuba and the Cuban Five. ... Headquartered in Miami, Radio and TV Martí are the only U.S. propaganda stations that operate outside of the Washington, D.C., area. Moving to Miami in 1997, they were able to recruit a stable of virulent anti-Cuba reporters. Those contracted by the U.S. government also served as guests, hosts, regular commentators and writers of shows such as 'Actualidad Mundial' ('World Update'), 'Mesa Redonda' ('Roundtable') and regular daily newscasts. In other words, they directed and shaped the message. At the same time that they are employed by the U.S. government, these journalists also hold themselves out as independent reporters covering U.S.-Cuban affairs in other media."  Image from

VIDEO: Palin Defends Fox's Birther Promotion - Joe Strupp, [Comment thread:] "goesto11 (May 04, 2011 2:27 pm ET) U.S. law very specifically delineates between 'free speech' and 'propaganda.' Most of us are willing to die for the former. The latter is a crime. I honestly wouldn't expect Sarah Palin to know the difference. by thaneb (May 04, 2011 8:55 pm ET) The only close law is the Smith-Mundt Act but it is limited in scope applying only in a limited way to the Office of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and the Broadcasting Board of Governors. S-M doesn't use the word nor define 'propaganda'. The only other laws are funding legislation having riders restricting the funding of propaganda. In sum, there appear to be no laws criminalizing propaganda in the U.S. If I am mistaken, please provide a cite to the law you are noting. goesto11 (May 05, 2011 7:08 am ET) In every appropriations bill since 1951, Congress has included language stating that no federal funding can be used to promote propaganda. Salaries paid to federal employees (including Congressmen and their staffers) count as federal funding."

Radio/TV Martí tries "ghost" websites to get through to Cubans who have internet access - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Cuban diplomat accuses US of broadcast interference, boasts of Cuban jamming, and is a poor planespotter - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Mass media can battle mass destruction - Newton N. Minow, Two Sets of Books For Daniel Pearl: "In the midst of World War II, my old boss, William Benton, then assistant secretary of State and later a senator from Connecticut, ...described the VOA, which transmitted by shortwave radio, to RCA Chairman David Sarnoff, the tough-minded and passionate pioneer of American broadcasting. Sarnoff noted how little electronic power and transmitter scope the VOA had, then said, 'Benton, all you've got here is the whisper of America.' Sixty years later, VOA and our other international radio services still suffer from a serious inability to be heard.

In the Middle East, particularly, American broadcasting is not even a whisper. An Arab-language radio service, operated by VOA, has a tiny budget and a tinier audience — only 1% to 2% of Arabs ever listen to it. Among those 30 or younger — 60% of the region's population — virtually no one listens. ... I believe the USA must aggressively re-commit itself to public diplomacy — to explaining and advocating our values to the world. ... When Colin Powell chose advertising executive Charlotte Beers as State's undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs, some journalists sneered. You can't peddle freedom as you would cars and shampoo, went their refrain. That is undoubtedly so, and Beers has several times said as much herself. But you can't peddle freedom if no one is listening, and Beers is a master at getting people to listen — and to communicate in terms people understand. ... Newton N. Minow is the Walter Annenberg Professor of Law and Communications Policy at Northwestern University." Minnow image from article

Finding Hope - "Hoopoe Books has received a Public Diplomacy Grant from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul to distribute 2.4 million of these books [beautiful books are old Afghan folk tales that were published for the first time in 2006] to provinces across Afghanistan.

Eternal Threads is receiving 12,000 of these books to be distributed in the area where we work not only to school children but their parents as well." Image from

Country Music Diplomacy: Mama, let your cowboys grow up to be Diplomats - Paul Rockower, PDiN Spotlight, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "American country music is an internationally popular brand in itself, and something that communicates uniquely American cultural values. Helping it to venture off the American range could provide the United States with some powerful and creative cultural diplomacy opportunities."

US and Syrian Youths Created Disabled Superhero, "The Silver Scorpion"‎ Comic Book Resources - "Liquid Comics and the Open Hands Initiative, a U.S.-based nonprofit dedicated to public diplomacy efforts,

announced today the launch of a new comic book that will introduce children around the world to the Silver Scorpion, an Arab teenager who loses his legs in a tragic accident, but whose powers - his creators hope - include the ability to help build bridges between the youth of America and the Arab world, starting with Syria." Image from article

USF, UT and HCC to Host On-Campus Training for EducationUSA Advisors
- "EducationUSA Advisors work in centers around the globe actively promoting U.S. higher education by offering information and guidance about educational institutions in the United States. Spearheaded by Marcia Taylor, USF’s Director of International Services, the joint proposal was chosen over twenty other submissions nationwide. USF, UT and HCC will host 22 advisors and four staff members from countries around the world including Myanmar, India, Senegal, Pakistan, Italy, and Chile. The group arrives Sunday May 8th and will travel to all three campuses for intensive training. 'This is an exceptional partnership with two other universities that will provide insight into a range of processes with the understanding that we all work together in the end to meet the goals and expectations of students. We expect to learn as much from this workshop as our international colleagues and are very excited about their visit to Tampa and our three institutions' said Dr. Karen Holbrook, USF Senior Vice President for Research, Innovation & Global Affairs.

EducationUSA is a global network of more than 400 advising centers supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. ... This is the first year the Institute of International Education (IIE) has partnered with the U.S. Department of State to offer to a more intensive training and professional development program. 'My goal is to ensure that individuals understand the concept of fit for their constituents. We want to give them the right tools and skills necessary to enhance their effectiveness when advising students' says Taylor. Before coming to the Tampa area the group will spend one week in Washington, DC. Here they will participate in workshops and sessions at the U.S. Department of State where they will gain first-hand experience of U.S. higher education institutions, and engage in strategic planning exercises focusing on how they will apply the skills and knowledge acquired during the program. IIE hopes that with this new training model will provide an in-depth knowledge of key topics including the history, structure and diversity of the U.S. higher education system and utilizing EducationUSA as a public diplomacy tool." Image from article

Indian General Hurts Chance for Peace - Tom Wright, Wall Street Journal: "Pakistan’s government and military officials acknowledge militants are a greater threat to national security than India. But in the court of [Pakistani] public opinion, India remains Enemy Number One, and public diplomacy still reflects that."

G20 Speakers’ Consultation to address security crisis - Bae June-young, "We are living in an age of total diplomacy where diplomacy by each member of a nation is encouraged for the interest of the country. Parliamentary diplomacy is especially important in this regard as foreign policy begins with interactions between governments, but necessitates parliamentary ratification as the requisite next step. A prime example is the ratification of free trade agreements, of which Korea is undergoing parliamentary discussions regarding FTAs with the European Union and the United States. Parliamentary diplomacy is also flexible. There are instances when lawmakers can breach the limits of public diplomacy between governments. When friendship buds

among lawmakers who have served many terms, they may talk about matters that are hard to bring up at discussions among government officials. They may also break an impasse between nations." Image from 

Stick to the path of peaceful development - Dai Bingguo, "The CPC Central Committee’s Proposal for Formulating the 12th Five-Year Plan for China’s Economic and Social Development adopted by the Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee has drawn the grand blueprint for China’s development in the next five years. ... We have integrated the 'bring-in' and 'going global' strategies and energetically carried out economic and trade cooperation with other countries, and rendered good service to the domestic efforts to fight the crisis, maintain stability, promote development and transform the economic development pattern. We have made good use of the hosting of the Beijing Olympic Games, the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China, the Expo 2010 Shanghai China, the Guangzhou Asian Games and other major events to strengthen public diplomacy and people-to-people and cultural exchanges and build up China’s image as a culturally-advanced, democratic, open, progressive and responsible major country, make more friends among countries in the world and deepen our friendship with them, actively guide international public opinion and help deepen the building of state soft power."

Obama, Osama, and Israel's drama‎ - Deborah Danan, Jerusalem Post: "The legal ambivalence surrounding Sunday's attack did not prevent Obama from authorizing Osama bin Laden's extrajudicial execution. This move highlights America's moral predilection to unequivocally distinguish between good and evil, regardless of international law. But when Israel adopts the same moral compass in determining its actions, the world is up in arms. ... On Monday, in an interview with Yuli Edelstein, Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, I asked what immediate hasbara efforts Israel should be making to highlight the international community’s double standards in the aftermath of the Osama execution. Edelstein was sceptical that lobbying for equal treatment would prove effective, saying, 'we’ve been using the argument of we do what they do and yet they condemn us for years…and it doesn’t work.' While Edelstein’s office has implemented a host of valuable strategies aimed at combating negative perception of Israel, hasbara tactics should also include taking every precaution not to promote defeatist attitudes. Sadly, demonization, denigration and delegitimization of Israel are not going to disappear anytime soon. And the reason that Israel cannot be judged by the Western world’s standard is quite simply because there is more than one. When the Jewish state stands trial in front of the world, the democratic standard is no more; in its place is the discriminatory standard." Image from

Survey of Campus BDS Finds Few Serious Cases - "An Israeli diplomat issued a stark warning to a roomful of Jewish communal professionals at a major Jewish convention last fall.

The campaign to impose boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel, he said, amounts to putting 'a practical warhead on the tip of an ideological rocket.' The Israeli official, a public diplomacy officer with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs named D.J. Schneeweiss, was not alone in describing in drastic terms the threat posed by the international anti-Israel campaign, known by the acronym BDS, at the New Orleans convention of the Jewish Federations of North America."

PM: 'All faces' of UK to be on show - Bearsden Herald: "Britons have a 'lot to look forward to' next year following the successful 'dry run' of the royal wedding in London, David Cameron said. The Prime Minister said both the London Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 would be a 'fantastic opportunity' to 'show all faces of Britain, both modern and traditional'. The wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton - now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - on Friday had been a good test for next year's events, he said. At Commons question time, Tory Rory Stewart (Penrith and the Border) asked: 'In the light of the success of the royal wedding in terms of public diplomacy, do you believe that reinforces the importance of a different narrative for the Diamond Jubilee to that of the Olympics in terms of what it can do for Britain's international reputation?' Mr Cameron replied: 'Well I think we have a fantastic opportunity next year to show all faces of Britain both modern and traditional.'" See also

Dual Britannia - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "[L]et's hope [Britsh PM David] Cameron navigates the rocky terrain of public diplomacy more successfully than Tony Blair. In the 1990s, Great Britain--no doubt tired of its reputation as a dentally-challenged nation of stodgy, old-fashioned corgi-worshipers and cow-maddened, Cure-loving soccer hooligans--embarked on an ill-advised nation-branding campaign.

Was There a Cool Britannia Campaign? - "It’s becoming conventional wisdom within Public Diplomacy Studies that after coming to power in 1997 Tony Blair’s new Labour government launched an effort to rebrand the UK as Cool Britannia and that this campaign was a disastrous failure. ... If there was a campaign who ran it?

Where did the budget come from? What were its objectives – do we have any campaign planning documents? Any information on visual identity? I haven’t come across any of this material and in it’s absence I find it difficult to believe there was a systematic campaign." Image from

Give Us This Day Our Daily Blog - Laura McGinnis, manIC: "The Vatican may be many things, but a public diplomacy power house it is not."

Opinion: what happened to Lithuanian public diplomacy? - Kestutis Girnius, "Last week, Edward Lucas, the political analyst for The Economist, wrote that Lithuania’s decision to expand teaching at national minority schools in the Lithuanian language is appropriate and non-discriminating towards the Poles. What is significant, in this case, is not that Lucas positively assessed the position demonstrated by Lithuania, but that he did so at such a late stage. Had the Lithuanian Government paid adequate attention to public diplomacy and made an effort to explain Lithuania’s position to other countries and the media, this would not have happened. ... The Ambassador in Poland or even the Minister of Foreign Affairs should be sending coherent commentaries on the Lithuanian policy towards national minorities to the local press . ... The Lithuanian attitudes should be consistently and patiently explained to the local diplomats and representatives of the foreign press."

Lucas image from article

Egyptian Public Diplomacy Delegation meets EOC Patriarch - Ethiopian News: "The 48-member Egyptian Public Diplomacy Delegation on Sunday conferred with Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church His Holiness Abune Paulos. The two sides discussed ways to pave the road for better relationship between the two countries."

The subtle distinction between Cultural Diplomacy and Propaganda - giuseppecolucci,  "What are then the future settings for the Cultural diplomacy? The political vicissitudes which are occurred during the 20th Century have surely changed the meaning of the term, they gave him as if to say, more sense, so that now it is completely detached from Propaganda. But there are still some troubles, as it has been said that some representatives of the governments are making propaganda when they are talking about their countries. It seems that today the Cultural diplomacy starts to walk along its own street that stands out from the government."

USC Dean Ernest Wilson on West Coast Foreign Policy and the Future of Public Diplomacy - Parag Khanna, Foreign Policy: "On the sidelines of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Ernest Wilson, dean of the innovative Annenberg School of Communications at USC, speaks to about the West Coast view of foreign policy, putting civil society at the center of public diplomacy, and how to properly teach and practice the art of communications internationally." [Video]

UCF [University of Central Florida] Graduation the ‘Perfect’ Mother’s Day Gift - "A student in UCF’s Burnett Honors College, Stephanie [Parenti] was awarded the prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship. She was one of only 20 recipients from across the country.

As a fellow, she’ll continue her education at Seton Hall University in New Jersey and then start with the Foreign Service, where she sees a future for herself working in politics and public diplomacy." Image from article, with caption: Stephanie Parenti is giving her mom, Roseann, the perfect Mother's Day gift -- the opportunity to see her daughter graduate from college.

New leadership named for three Maxwell departments - Jill Leonhardt, “The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs [at Syracuse University] has announced leadership appointments for the school’s newly formed public administration and international affairs department, the international relations department and the political science department. All appointments will be effective July 1. Professor Ross Rubenstein will chair the newly formed PAIA department . ... The merger of the public administration and international affairs programs opens up an exciting array of possibilities for our students and the school. Six signature Maxwell degrees—the M.P.A.; M.A.(IR); executive M.P.A.; executive M.A.(IR); master of public health, which is offered jointly with SUNY Upstate Medical University; and master of public diplomacy, which is offered jointly with the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications—will now be administered through a single unit. 'The resulting synergy among these top-notch programs will provide even more educational and career opportunities for our students and research opportunities for our faculty,' says Rubenstein."

MakeDamnSure - Nadia, "I am moving to Syracuse to begin graduate school in two months. Still have yet to find a place to live, but I fell in love with campus and the program this past weekend. ... Doctor Dennis immediately recognized my name from my personal statement. We began discussing the theories I proposed to research on, and he said no one had ever mentioned the spiral of silence before. He remembered my mom being from the Philippines and we talked of a variety of things, from Marjane Satrapi to Mexican food. It feels good to know that I have already established a comfortable relationship with one of my primary mentors. What he told me next put everything into perspective. There are only 15 students in the public diplomacy program. That is all they admitted when the program first started four years ago, and that is all they admitted from the 90 applicants for 2011. The students study, work, publish an annual journal, organize guest speakers, travel abroad for internships, and so much else. I have yet to meet the 14 other students, but it is daunting to think that this is it for the next two years. ... I ran across some old photographs of my most recent ex on my laptop. We were together for about a year and a half, with a two hour commute from one another, when she decided to break up with me days before my birthday. She decided that she ultimately couldn't be with a girl.

The most recent news is that she has become the party girl that she always strived to be, continuing to idolize tanning and drinking, reality TV, and Lindsay Lohan. I am told that I dodged quite the bullet. I cannot help but think the same. Relationships, prior to the Jersey Shore Worshipper, consisted of other heterosexual girls, plenty of bisexual girls and barsexual girls, a handful of sure lesbians, too many coworkers, friends that are no longer friends, mothers, ministers' daughters, classmates, friends of friends and relatives, and a partridge in a pear tree. Many of them I had no business getting involved with, but I am young and responsible for what I partake in." Nadia image from the blog


International broadcasting and the death of Osama bin Laden (updated again) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting:

Items pertaining to releasing photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse and propaganda at (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Al-Qaida statement should kill off Bin Laden conspiracy theories: Terror group's message reinforces conclusion that even without its leader, it is still capable of coherent action - Jason Burke, The most obvious effect of this statement from al-Qaida is to kill off some – if not all – of the rapidly multiplying conspiracy theories claiming Bin Laden is not dead. Another effect is to reinforce the conclusion that even without its leader, al-Qaida is still capable of some kind of coherent action. Propaganda by deed has always been the favoured strategy of al-Qaida's leadership.

Dear Tripoli propagandists: Nothing compares 2 U and your surreal claimsWestern war reporters in Libya have no choice over what they hear – when they are not listening to looped hits from the 80s, they are subjected to statements about a parallel universe - Harriet Sherwood, Libyan state TV is a marvel of unflagging 24/7 propaganda.

Russia Starts Atrocity-Propaganda Against NATO Over Libya - Vladimir Socor, Eurasia Daily Monitor.
Image from article

Syrian regime propaganda is now Orwellian - As'ad AbuKhalil, Watch this: on how to surrender your son to the authorities. (thanks Ahmet)

China regulators suspend crime TV‎ - Damian Grammaticas, BBC News: China has ordered TV stations across the country not to air any detective shows, spy thrillers or dramas about time-travel for the next three months. China's Communist Party is preparing to mark 90 years since its founding and the authorities want TV stations to air programmes praising the party instead.

The government wants China's one billion television viewers to tune in to a wholesome diet of patriotic propaganda that will glorify the party ahead of the anniversary on 1 July. Wang Weiping, the deputy chief of the drama department at China's state TV regulator, called this a "propaganda period". There are "dozens of good TV dramas related to the founding of the party" that stations can broadcast, he told the Beijing News. See also, Image from article, wirth caption: The anniversary will be celebrated on 1 July

How the internet and mobile phones are outsmarting China's propaganda machine - Peter Foster,

Canadian Ukrainians call on President Yanukovych not to return to totalitarian past - The Ukrainian Canadian Congress has sent a letter to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych with a request to veto "a provocative legislative act" - amendments to the law on commemorating the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 (the Second World War) concerning the use of the copies of the red flag of victory. The Canadian Ukrainians described the adoption of this law by parliament as a return to the propaganda of the symbols of the totalitarian past.

German Propaganda Buses Hit D.C. Streets - Lydia DePillis, Now, here's a novel idea to promote your country: Remind people of all the words they use that come from your national language, say, on a prominent mode of public transportation, such as a bus! That's the gimmick the German Embassy has come up with to increase awareness of their Teutonic ways. From a press release: "All over the bus, vividly colored banners, flags and signs containing German words pop out from the vivid green background.

The words, 18 in all, including 'kindergarten,' 'mensch,' 'zeitgeist,' and 'wanderlust,' were chosen because they are commonly used in English, are familiar to most Americans and because they convey fun or uniquely German concepts. Pedestrians in the city and website visitors anywhere in the United States are invited to 'spot the Bus' and take a picture or screenshot of it for a chance to win a package of gear, including bags, t-shirts, pens and more...Every day through July 2011, the 'German is Wunderbar' bus will travel on Metrobus lines out of Metro's Western Garage." Image from article

“Caterpillar” Makes Horror Out of Wartime Propaganda - Eric Kohn, Acclaimed Japanese director Koji Wakamatsu’s latest feature, “Caterpillar,” breaks down the notion of wartime bravery by disabling it. Working from a short story (one that was banned in 1939 by Japanese censors) by Edogawa Rampo, Wakamatsu achieves this with a haunting physical manifestation: an injured Japanese soldier during the Second Sino-Japanese War, returned home minus his arms and legs.

Rendered useless except as a symbol, the injured man receives a hero’s welcome, only to become the disfigured face of a lost cause. From its opening minutes, Wakamatsu announces his intention of dismantling militarist propaganda. Image from article

1 comment:

sex life said...

So, I don't actually believe this will work.