Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22

"The art of statesmanship is to foresee the inevitable and to expedite its occurrence."

--Charles Maurice de Talleyrand; image from


Who speaks for the world? [Spectator, The (UK)] - "We are letting Al Jazeera usurp the international role of the BBC In the field of public diplomacy, the tiny Gulf state of Qatar has become a mouse that roars. According to Hillary Clinton, the Emir of Qatar's television network, Al Jazeera, is knocking spots off the broadcasters of three superpowers in a global struggle for influence being played out across the airwaves. 'We are in an information war and we are losing, ' Clinton warned the Senate foreign relations committee in March. Making only the briefest mention of the enormous expansion of international broadcasting funded by the Russian and Chinese governments in recent years, the US secretary of state went on to declare that 'Al Jazeera is winning.' ... Al Jazeera's influence has been soaring. President Obama watches in the Oval Office; visitors to the State Department report

Al Jazeera is on almost every screen, and David Cameron has let it be known that he likes the way it brings the Arab Street to Downing Street. Al Jazeera's rise has coincided with a decline at the BBC. Following a reduction in its Foreign Office grant, the corporation is cutting its World Service by 16 per cent, which will reportedly save £46 million a year. ... It is not in our interests for large swaths of Africa, Asia and the Middle East to live in permanent ignorance of British values, institutions and culture; never to be given a taste of what living in a free society is like; never to receive impartial and honest news and to be harangued day in, day out by people who despise us and everything we stand for. And that is what leaving the field to Al Jazeera, the Chinese or the Russians would mean. If Hillary Clinton is right about that information war, we should give some serious thought to how to win it." Image from

After backbench debate on BBC World Service, UK government will review budget cuts, with no promise of reversal - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Clinton is secretary of arts - Aaron Leitko, Washington Post: "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton did a stop-and-speak at the National Gallery of Art on Thursday evening, delivering opening remarks for the annual FAPE dinner. Never heard of it? It’s a nonprofit organization that tries to get works by American artists into U.S. embassies around the world. The dinner was a multipurpose event — a schmooze-fest for art world bigwigs and wealthy donors (Queen Noor, actress Anna Deveare Smith, artist Joel Shapiro were there), an award presentation ceremony (philanthropist Agnes Gund received an award for furthering diplomacy through art) and an unveiling (a mock-up of a Martin Puryear sculpture that’s supposed to stand near the U.S. Embassy in Beijing;

it looked a like a giant iron jump rope). Clinton — in a pantsuit, as per usual, but with a glittery gold jacket — gave a quickie speech on how artists are, you know, the real ambassadors. 'You are engaging with citizens of other countries and you help us tell the story of America,' she said. After posing for a few photo ops, she was out of there." Image from

Israel and the WikiLeaks Cables - Jonathan Spyer, "[There are] suspicions of nefarious links between the Wikileaks organization and Israel being raised in parts of the Middle East media. Such allegations have never been accompanied by any proof, and subsequent leaks have portrayed revelations that are hardly of use to Israeli public diplomacy--from the allegations of low-level corruption at the Gaza crossings ... to cables depicting tough Israeli policies regarding restriction of goods into Hamas-controlled Gaza. Nevertheless, these accusations are likely to remain in circulation."

Kadima attacks PM for harming ties with US - Rebecca Anna Stoil, Jerusalem Post:  "Likud MK Yariv Levin ... accused Kadima of dealing in petty politics in the opposition party’s reluctance to vocally support Netanyahu in Washington. Levin wrote a missive to Kadima MKs in which he asked them to push Livni to stand behind Netanyahu’s policy.

'It is unfortunate that the chairwoman of your party and of the opposition refrained from supporting the prime minister, and to ignore the massive damage that her position is causing to Israeli public diplomacy,' wrote Levin." Livni/Netanyahu image from

A Lesson in 'Hasbarah'-Public Diplomacy: Repeating The Truth Debunks The Lies - Doc's Talk: "Your duty, for your own sake, to finally, reverse the propaganda against you. Use only the right 'Hasbarah' lexicon to undo the Arab claim to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Shellac anyone who calls this land 'occupied,' worse, 'disputed,' as it is neither!"

Conferencia 25 de Mayo - "SEMINARIO Y CONFERENCIA : Hasbara: Public Diplomacy en Córdoba - 'Hatzad HaSheini' Disertantes:

Marcelo Kisilevski y Julián Schvindlerman." Image from article

Art in Cultural Diplomacy: Miss Van - Kait5248. Public and Cultural Diplomacy E: A reflective group blog by students on the Public and Cultural Diplomacy module at London Metropolitan University: "The role of art as a tool in the field of public or cultural diplomacy has always been hotly debated. Much of this debate comes down to one of the most enduring, unanswerable questions: what is art? ... For her part, Miss Van

has brought graffiti across many borders. Originally spreading her work along the streets of Toulouse, France, Miss Van brought some of the first overtly feminine overtones to the mostly male dominated world of street art." Miss Van image from


India cashing on OBL killing - Zaheerul Hassan, "The Killing OBL in a covert military operation undertaken by US Special Forces in Bilal Town near Abbottabad is indeed a significant development in the wake of war on terrorism (WoT).

It’s an established fact that all peace loving people of the world including countries like Pakistan which have sacrificed precious lives and valuable property in its efforts to fight the menace of terrorism indicate firm resolve against terrorists. ... Unfortunately anti Pakistan elements including USA and India have used it as a propaganda tool to malign Pakistan." Image from

Capital suggestion - Farrukh Saleem, "Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha and the Intelligence Directorate that he commands are under an asymmetric attack of a unique kind. The Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI), the eyes and ears of the army, is in the midst of a ‘war of the mind’. The weapon is one of the oldest in the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) stockpile. The CIA’s Tactical PSYOP is targeting to deplete ISI’s esprit de corps by severely disrupting ISI’s internal cohesion. CIA is bent upon three things: reducing morale, promoting dissension and inducing defections. Simultaneously, CIA’s Strategic PSYOP is targeting the Pakistani population at large. The goal here is to fracture ISI’s reputation within the Pakistani population and consequently to create a rift between the two – population and the ISI. ... The CIA’s tools include demoralising the target, instilling fear in-tandem with a diplomatic onslaught. Carriers of these tools include The New York Times, The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Voice of America, Senator John Kerry, Marc Grossman, Admiral Mike Mullen, Tahawwur Hussain’s trial in Chicago, summoning of DG-ISI by a Brooklyn court, talk of ‘stealth drones’ and many others."

Propaganda game revisited - Mamoona Ali Kazmi, A recent report by New Delhi think tank Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis said that India should be assertive and proactive to claim the strategically vital parts of Kashmir “illegally” occupied by Pakistan where China has increased its footprints leading to fears that Beijing may take over the territory by 2020. The report is based on malicious propaganda against Pakistan and China.

Tripoli despatch: Will Gaddafi go with a whimper or a bang? There is propaganda on either side, but neither Colonel Gaddafi nor his Nato foes seem to have many new ideas, reports Andrew Gilligan in Tripoli - If the regime does crumble,

this is how it will happen: the gradual slipping away of the dictator's inner circle. NATO may be hoping for Gaddafi's world to end with a bang, but it would be just as happy for it to end with a whimper. Gaddafi image from article

The Power of Palestinian Propaganda - with more than a little help from Al Beeb - Daphne Anson log: A long history lesson is something the BBC could do with, judging from the half truths, distortions, and even outright revisionism that characterises its reportage on the Middle East.

The Coming Assault on Israel - James Lewis, American Thinker: When Arab regimes see riots in the streets they always crank up the flow of hate-Israel propaganda, to distract "the Arab Street" from its real problems; it's a long and dreadfully sleazy tradition in reactionary Islam.

Moroccan propaganda tries to muddle clear case for Western Saharan independence - Peter Kenworthy, “The Moroccan propaganda apparatus uses such myths as trying to link [Western Sahara’s liberation movement] Polisario to Al-Qaida in an attempt to defame, falsify and distort realities in order. This is done to discredit the struggle of the majority of the Saharawi people and their legitimate representative, the Polisario Front,

that wants freedom for the last colony in Africa, Western Sahara.” Abba Malainin, Polisario’s representative in Denmark, is speaking of the successful Moroccan campaign in the media that has seen hundreds of Moroccan propaganda websites, such as ‘Polisario Confidential,’ spring up and where hundreds of Moroccans comment on any and all anti-Moroccan or pro-Saharawi articles or blogs. Image from

Tehran-linked TV stations in Iraq gather in Iran’s embassy to launch a new propaganda campaign against Ashraf - Foreign Affairs Committee, National Council of Resistance of Iran: Based on incoming reports from inside the Iranian regime, Quds Force agents have invited representatives of Tehran-linked TV stations in Iraq to the Iranian embassy in Baghdad. In addition to presenting gifts and money, the mullahs’ embassy called on them to initiate a new propaganda campaign against Ashraf residents. These TV channels, including al-Alam, al-Iraqiya, al-Forat, al-Massar, Afaq, al-Ghadir, Biladi and al-Watan, have been obligated to air fabricated reports prepared beforehand by the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) to prepare the grounds for another attack against Ashraf residents.

Diplomats should think out of the box - Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera - Shanika Sriyananda, Time has come for diplomats to think out of the box and go out of the air-conditioned rooms to engage more with the people. The doors of our foreign missions need to be opened for Sri Lankans to discuss their matters with the ambassadors, Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner in Malaysia Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera

said. According to Perera, "the foreign missions have to engage in a continous dialogue with the Tamil diaspora and we have to have a well designed propaganda campaign through electronic media internationally. The web is an effective tool to reach out to many and also clear the doubts. One email can do more harm than a any other mode of communication as people get more information through emails than the television." Perera image from article

Ohio-bred Axis Sally's journey from Nazi propagandist to federal pen to Columbus convent - Brian Albrecht Brazen traitor, raving anti-Semite, she-devil of the airwaves? Or misunderstood victim of love, forced to serve as fascism's spokeswoman? Richard Lucas largely lets readers be the judge in his intriguing book "Axis Sally, The American Voice of Nazi Germany,"

a detailed, seven-year effort born of the author's interest in vintage radio and a "deeply flawed but fascinating woman." She was paroled in 1961 and went to live at the Our Lady of Bethlehem Convent in Columbus. There, she taught foreign language, drama and music. She later became a private tutor for Columbus high school students and earned enough credits to graduate from Ohio Wesleyan in 1973 at age 72.

Mao's Last Dancer Review - Lex Walker, Depending on where you’ve grown up and under which government, the DVD Mao’s Last Dancer can either watch like a heavy-handed Western culture/capitalism propaganda piece or like a mostly enjoyable depiction of one man realizing the value of freedom in pursuing one’s dreams. As a child, Li Cunxin (Wen Bin Huang) was plucked from anonymity to study ballet in Beijing and was thus given the opportunity of a lifetime, of countless lifetimes really when you consider the severely limited opportunities

afforded to Chinese people under Mao’s rule. Determined to become a famous dancer, Li practices and goes the extra mile to gain the strength needed. He is selected to serve as a beacon of Chinese excellence in the imperialist America as a guest dancer with the Houston Ballet. Initially wary of American culture due to a lifetime of indoctrination (education?), Li discovers that he’s been misinformed of the condition of living in America and comes to cherish the freedom his life there affords him.


Apostrophe Catastrophe, or the Consolations of the Internet - John Brown, Notes and Essays: In a society that prides itself on its accuracy, it is a challenge to understand the failure on the part of the US younger generation to use the

apostrophe "correctly." Image from


"...nostalgia for the old Soviet cityscape that was unprofaned by ads, billboards, flashing signs for Western goods, or any of the other visual clutter caused by big companies selling things for profit. This nostalgia might be called post-Soviet pastoral, if the definition of pastoral can be stretched to mean a longing for a landscape that was in fact industrialized and urban, but also, aesthetically speaking, a world of its own—insular, distinctive, and now vanished. Things in the Soviet Union looked different—cars, clothes, toys, household tools, the graphics and color schemes on packages and labels.

Industrial and graphic designers worked in relative independence from the West. To an observer from the US, Soviet things seemed either to belong to an earlier era or to be entirely sui generis."

--Elaine Blair, "Post-Soviet Pastoral," New York Review of Books; image from

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