Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May 10

"What has taken place in America so far is a mere echo of the Old World."

--Hegel (1770-1831), cited in Thomas Albert Howard, God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide (2011), p. 107; image from


Calls Mount to Push US Troop Presence in Iraq Past 2011‎ - David Elkins, Inter Press Service: "Amid high-level U.S. congressional delegations to evaluate developments in Iraq, a growing number of voices ... , from both the Barack Obama administration and members of Congress, are concerned about a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces

from the country by December 2011 – a deadline set forth in the supposedly inviolable Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Iraqi governments back in 2008. ... While some continue to emphasise the need for either more troops or a renewed effort at U.S. public diplomacy in Iraq as the deadline draws nearer, Iraq will continue to face significant challenges in its domestic political arena. ... The crucial questions with regards to the U.S. presence in Iraq may yet come to be guided from a diplomatic, civil society rather than a militaristic frame of reference as President Obama fulfills his campaign promise to leave Iraq." Image  from

The most dangerous place on Earth - ‎Umar Riaz, The Hill: "The death of Osama bin Laden has refocused the world's attention to the importance of building Pakistan's capacity to prevent and combat violent extremism in that country. Yet while international attention is captivated by the high profile victory in Abbottabad, such a focus threatens to divert our focus from the underlying factors that have pushed Pakistan to the front lines of the 'war on terrorism': namely, the nexus between transnational crime, poverty, and terrorism. Perhaps no region better typifies this dangerous linkage than does the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) - a region garnering for some the dubious distinction as 'the most dangerous place on earth.' ... Regrettably, coordinated efforts to counter the crime-terrorism nexus - including targeted strikes, military operations, border controls, law enforcement, negotiations and public diplomacy - have to date proven largely ineffective in countering the growing threats within the FATA."

Women journos told to 'stand up and be counted'‎ - NewsDay: "Female journalists continue to face barriers at every level, with very few female college graduates managing to secure employment and only a handful female journalists getting promoted to authoritative positions in newsrooms. This was said yesterday by Judith McHale,

the United States Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, during a video-conference organised by the US Embassy to discuss challenges faced by women in the media. The conference attracted journalists and gender practitioners from South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe." Image from

Corruption Evidences Pile Up in Cuban 5 Case‎ - Escambray: "The website www.reportersforhire.org will reveal more evidence of the U.S. government´s payments to Miami journalists to create a atmosphere of hysteria and bias against the five Cuban antiterrorist fighters unjustly imprisoned in that northern country. The website, an initiative by the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five, will publish additional documents exposing the White House´s illegal propaganda operation and manipulation of the justice system. ... The Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which regulates U.S. public diplomacy abroad, prohibits funding activities to influence and propagandize domestic public opinion."

More descriptions of US international broadcasting as "propaganda" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

RFE/RL and VOA will co-exist in new Kabul bureau - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

3D Printing Came to DC - mollymoran.com: "Public Diplomacy: State currently has 'American spaces' overseas that take the shape of traditional libraries also equipped with communication technology. In an effort to develop visual

literacy as well as promote local entreprenualism, American spaces could someday include digital fabrication tools to include 3D printers." Image from article, with caption: I actually watched as this was printed.

Lowy Interviews John Duncan‎ - ArmsControlWonk.com: "Fergus Hanson at the Lowy Interpreter interviewed John Duncan, UK Permanent Represtantive to the Conference on Disarmament and charter member of the Twitterati, about the impact of new media on diplomacy. One of the questions was 'whether blogs can really play a useful role in the hands of government officials who are constrained by what they can say.' Duncan’s answer is fascinating. Duncan explained that the United Kingdom gives its ambassadors wide latitude to express their personal views on the basis of a concept called Assumed Competence: ['] For the UK we have a concept called ‘Assumed Competence’ where ambassadors are given a fair degree of latitude to express what are clearly labelled as their personal views in their blogs. In general this has worked well. Over the past four years UK Ambassadors have done something like 4000 blog posts, of which only three have caused problems. Personally I think it is important for the diplomatic community to be part of and engage with the Government 2.0 exercise, ie. the development of communication via internet based social media; not only because of the widespread use of these tools during the Arab Spring, but for wider public diplomacy reasons.[']I love that: assumed competence. I gather that there is some training prior to the assumption of confidence, but that is a quaint doctrine that works well for a sensible little country like the UK.

The thought of doing that in the United States terrifies me." Image from

Turkish Ambassador Stops in Indiana‎ - press release, Inside Indiana Business: "The Turkish Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Namik Tan, will conduct a diplomatic tour of Indiana on Monday, May 9, 2011. ... Ambassador Namýk Tan was appointed Ambassador of Turkey to the United States in February 2010. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Tan was Deputy Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, responsible for bilateral political affairs and public diplomacy."

US tells China to reform in its own interest‎ - Shaun Tandon, Veronica Smith, AFP:

"The United States told China on Monday that improvements in human rights and economic reforms would serve Beijing's own interests and promised it was not seeking to contain the Asian power's rise. Launching two days of talks, Vice President Joe Biden predicted that the relationship between the world's largest economies would shape the 21st century and said: 'A healthy competition, in our view, is good for both of us.' ... The talks come five months after Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to the United States in which he tried his hand at public diplomacy in hopes of changing his country's negative image in some parts of Washington." Image from

Another U.S. Deficit: China and America - Public Diplomacy in the Age of the Internet - Nelson, Public and Cultural Diplomacy D: A reflective group blog by students on the Public and Cultural Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University: "The report is made by the One Hundred Twelfth Congress of the US to the Members of the US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations. The report discusses the public diplomacy relationship imbalance between the US and China. It is contended that just as the American- Chinese trade is unfair and is leading to American job loss and export decrease, (presumably due to the Chinese’s government alleged practices of artificially keeping its currency low in order to boost its export led economy); the US public diplomacy efforts are also being damaged by the Chinese communist undemocratic controlling party."

The Challenge of Relationships: The EU’s Strategic Partnerships - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "[S]eeing public diplomacy as an exercise in relationship building still requires a strategic approach.

Relationships aren’t free; by elevating relationships to strategic partnership status the EU is making a commitment of resources even if only in time and attention that detract from other priorities. We might expect that a relationship will have a synergistic effect."  Image from

Egypt PM to visit Ethiopia, re-establishing "key role" in Africa‎, Sudan Tribune: "A scheduled visit of Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, to Ethiopia this week will mark Egypt’s return as key role player in Africa and opens a new chapter in ties with the continent,

Egypt’s Ambassador in Ethiopia Tareq Ghoneim said on Monday. ... Egypt last week sent a 48-member popular public diplomacy delegation to Addis Ababa that reflected a new spirit in Egypt’s relationship with Ethiopia and the countries of the Nile Basin to end the row over the Nile." Image from article, with caption: Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on March 4, 2011 a day after he was named to the post.

Life without borders‎ - News at St. Cloud State University: "When Professor Linda Butenhoff advised global studies major Emilie Wardrip to 'dream big,' the Alexandria senior responded by landing a plumb internship with the East Asia/Pacific Bureau of the U.S. State Department. For 10 weeks during fall semester Wardrip had a desk in a high-profile Washington, D.C. office, working alongside a public diplomacy officer to help draft official responses about events and issues involving U.S. relations with Japan and Korea. 'I was fortunate,' she said. 'What I was working with was really exciting. I even helped draft speeches used by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.'"

Fulbright Personal Statement - travel by cassidy: "I discovered my career goal of working for the State Department ever since I discovered exactly what it is the State Department

does. As I matured and expanded my boundaries, the career track I wanted changed, but I have never wavered on wanting to join the State Department. I want to become a Foreign Service Officer with a track in public Diplomacy or Consular work. I want to help brighten the image of America abroad." Image from

Senior Communications Officer – Sana’a, Yemen - amic.org.sg: "DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: ... 1. Works closely with the US Embassy’s Public Diplomacy Office (PD), the USAID mission and its IPs to manage a coordinated media relation effort."


The Osama Putz Videos: The White House is happy to spike the football on its own terms - Jack Shafer, Slate: The administration's recent propaganda efforts—or exercise in news management or whatever you want to call it—deserve greater scrutiny. The administration sent two different messages over the weekend about the Bin Laden capture, one for the foreign audience that doesn't speak much English and one for the domestic audience. The message for the foreign audience is a visual one: Bin Laden had so lost his mojo that he was just an old man freezing in a dump watching television. The message for the literate audience at home is almost the opposite. It can be found in the Times piece, where the unnamed briefing official (who paints Bin Laden as a diminished force) goes on to explain that the Abbottabad compound was a "command and control center" from which Bin Laden plotted attacks and directed al-Qaida operations. The Post conveys this second message, too, reporting that an official said that the "materials reviewed over the past several days clearly show that bin Laden remained an active leader," still directing the "tactical details" of operations. Reduced to its essence, the administration is saying to the English-speaking reading audience: At the time of his death Bin Laden was as dangerous as ever.

Mastering The Propaganda - stevengoddard.wordpress.com: Two years ago the White House said that getting Osama was no longer important.

Last week, someone in Washington or Langley decided to score some political points by finally killing Osama. Suddenly Osama became an important military target again, and Obama a great military leader. Image from article

Osama Strikes at the Heart of the U.S. Empire Again - Jack D. Douglas, lewrockwell.com: The U.S. massive campaign of propaganda based on their claims that a U.S. Seal killed Osama bin Laden has wound up driving another stake through the heart of the U.S. Empire by driving another huge wedge between the U.S. and the erstwhile puppet regime of Pakistan.

Americans Are Living In 1984 - Paul Craig Roberts, globalresearch.ca: Americans have succumbed to propaganda that has conditioned them to believe that they are under attack by practically omnipotent adversaries.

Why the hurry to gloat about Bin Laden? President Obama's rush to break the news of the Al Qaeda leader's death no doubt cost the U.S. a valuable intelligence edge - Jonah Goldberg, latimes.com: Obama says he won't release Bin Laden's death photo for fear that American triumphalism might hurt American interests. Would that he had the same concern when it came to White House triumphalism.

Use of 'Geronimo' code for Osama bin Laden irks tribes  - John Brown's Notes and Essays: "In connection with the below articles [cited in this entry], readers

might be interested in my 2006 piece for TomDispatch, 'Our Indian Wars Are Not Over Yet: Ten Ways to Interpret the War on Terror as a Frontier Conflict.'" Image from

More propaganda: USG claims Pakistan outed CIA station chief with no evidence - endthelie.com: Stung by criticism at home and in the United States following a U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a city north of the capital, Pakistan’s intelligence service may have leaked the name of the CIA station chief in retaliation, U.S. officials said Monday.

In a development that could further fray tensions between the Pakistan and the United States, Pakistani media this weekend reported what they said was the name of the current CIA station chief in Islamabad. The name, apparently misspelled, was aired by a private television station, ARY, on Friday and published in the right-wing English-language newspaper The Nation on Saturday. Image from article

From Chomsky to bin Laden The professor dons the militant's cap: It fits - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal (subscription): How fitting that Noam Chomsky would waste little time denouncing the killing of Osama bin Laden as the "political assassination" of an "unarmed victim" whose complicity in 9/11 remains, in the professor's mind, very much in doubt. Osama was fond of quoting the MIT sage in his periodic video messages—Jimmy Carter is another American so honored—so maybe the eulogy was just a matter of one good turn deserving another.

Castro regime hoses America with propaganda - Alberto de la Cruz, babalublog.com: When the Obama administration relaxed the Cuba travel restrictions, they claimed it would open up religious, academic, and cultural exchanges between the American and Cuban people.

The White House was allegedly hoping for a two-way interchange, but what we have gotten (as we expected and warned) is an avalanche of regime sponsored "artists" and "academics" coming to the U.S. to spread Castroite propaganda. The pipeline that was supposed to encourage two-way exchanges is in reality nothing but a hose the Castro dictatorship is using to drench American society with pro-Castro purveyors of propaganda. Image from

The myth of American exceptionalism - Richard Cohen, Washington Post: The danger of American exceptionalism is that discourages compromise, for what God has made exceptional, man must not alter. And yet clearly America must change fundamentally or continue to decline.

They all smiled for the despot - Robert Fulford, nationalpost.com: Joseph Stalin, a stout, bandy-legged fellow with bad skin, looked like a rather handsome devil in the official paintings and statues that spread his fame across the Soviet empire from the 1930s to the 1950s.

Those commissioned products of official art, depicted in Igor Golomstock's recent Totalitarian Art (Overlook Press) and in the European parks that show propaganda sculpture as public amusement, are slowly turning the tragedies of communism and fascism into an abrasively funny satire on 20th-century history. Portraits of Stalin, Mao, Hitler and many lesser despots, when seen at a safe distance in time, amount to a crude visual definition of irony: They state something that everyone knows to be false. Official art says clearly that all dictators are noble and all their subjects are satisfied. The Soviet and German masses are made to appear dedicated, the Chinese happy. Image from article


Brooklyn-based newspaper pretends women don't exist - Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing


Rainbows of trash - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing: Melbourne's Liz Jones scavenges colorful trash from beaches and riverbeds and arranges them by color in these striking collages, which she calls "Rubbish Rainbows."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

great news round-up, saw you got endthelie on there, one of my favorite new up-and-coming sites.