Monday, July 25, 2011

July 24-25

"Think of a Seventeen-thousand-five-hundred-dollar Ambassador! Particularly for America. Why, it is the most ludicrous spectacle, the most inconsistent and incongruous spectacle, contrivable by even the most diseased imagination. It is a billionaire in a paper collar, a king in a breech-clout, an archangel in a tin halo. And, for pure sham and hypocrisy, the salary is just the match of the Ambassador's official clothes."

--Mark Twain; image from


The Soviet Union—Music and Propaganda

Soviet Union, the best place on the world!


Cold War Radios: Cold War International Broadcasting, in particular Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, 1949-1991


US-China: Sunny side up‎ - Geoffrey Garrett, Lowy Interpreter: "I simply wanted to point out two things. First, the depth and breadth of China-US economic ties today goes a long way to explaining why none of the recent brushfires in Sino-American relations — both in the South China Sea and in terms of trade

and currency — has flamed out of control. Second, obsessing about the potential for geopolitical conflict with China in forums like The Interpreter is bad public diplomacy. Behind-the-scenes military planning in Beijing, Canberra and Washington to insure against the downside risks of bad outcomes from China's rise is no doubt intense and on-going. But it should be married in public with win-win talk about China-US economic relations, and I would add win-win-win talk about the Australia-China-US economic triangle. The benefits of this economic triangle beyond raw material sales to China are not well understood in Australia, just as the benefits of China-US ties are poorly understood and devalued in America, and I suspect China as well. Leavening the geopolitical agonising over China's rise with a real understanding of the economic benefits — not only in terms of dollars and jobs today but also in terms of peace and stability and the prospect for political change in China tomorrow — strikes me as in everyone's interests." Image from

US Public Diplomacy Deploying Homosexual Activism As Destabilization of Religious Societies - "The American embassy in el Salvador, just like the American embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan is forcing the issue of 'gay rights' to the forefront of the national conversation, in order to stimulate right-wing reactions. In Pakistan, they had a gay rights parade down the middle of Islamabad's streets, knowing that it would spark widespread conservative reactions, hoping that those reactions would be violent. In both cases, religious societies are confronted with the Imperial demand that they create special rights for individuals who are violating fundamental religious laws shared by the indigenous culture. The result is predictable; it is intentional, and it harmful to real attempts to foster democratic rights within those countries."

Booknotes: Peck’s Ideal Illusions - "The folowing is an excerpt from IDEAL ILLUSIONS: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights by James Peck, published in March by Metropolitan Books. ... If public money fed into the color revolutions is not hard to trace, neither is the involvement of past and present national security managers. When Freedom House trained some one thousand poll observers in Ukraine (funded through NED),

its chairman was James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA. U.S. Ambassador Richard Miles was deeply involved in anti-Milosevic operations; later, in Georgia, he worked to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze. Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the U.S. ambassador in Minsk, a veteran of comparable operations in Nicaragua, was involved in a similar campaign against Alexander Lukashenko, the authoritarian leader of Belarus. Washington’s public diplomacy in these and other instances was pervasive and impressive: 'Overt democratic support where we can, covert activities where we must' might well be the slogan. Washington, in brief, was democracy’s friend. 'We saw them marching for democracy through the streets of former capitals such as Kiev and Tbilisi,' recounts a glowing USAID account." Image from

Cultural diplomacy on Main St. in America - Laura Collins-Hughes, Boston Globe: "The US State Department, which has long sent American artists abroad as part of its cultural diplomacy efforts, is for the first time launching a sizable program to bring foreign performers here - an initiative administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Comedians, puppeteers, musicians, and dancers from Pakistan, Haiti, and Indonesia will tour to small and midsize cities across America next year as part of the nearly $2 million Center Stage program. 'Since the early ’50s, we’ve basically sent groups overseas to do people-to-people exchange for mutual understanding,' said Ann Stock, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs. 'This is the first time we’re bringing 10 groups to Main Street America, if you will.'" Image from article, with caption: Cultural ambassadors coming to America (from left): Pakistans Zeb &… (NIDA REHMAN (left); JOGJA HIP HOP FOUNDATION (center); REBECCA BLUNK)

Experts give tips to American-bound Nigerian students - "It was different shades of advice for over 90 young Nigerians who are set to depart the country to pursue higher educational goals in the United States as alumni and current students in various institutions in the country took them through tips that could help settle and progress during their stay in the country. The advices were just on time to correct the various misconceptions about America as a country and prepare the children for studies and the new community and culture they would be faced with in the next few years. Public Diplomacy Officer at the United States Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, Mr Peter Piness, who rolled on the day at the public Affairs Section of The US Embassy, in Lagos, took the scores of young and promising Nigerians about various aspects of travelling, living and studying in the U.S. just as a way of preparing them against shocks that could arise from the swift cultural and environmental changes they were about to experience. ... Most of the benefiting students are products of EducationUSA Advising Center (EAC), which provides quality, timely, accurate, unbiased information about all accredited U.S. higher education institutions for persons wishing to study in the U.S. The EAC offers individual advising for a fee to help interested Nigerian students who have the academic qualifications and financial resources for studying in the United States."

Lamidi Fakeye: Native, fresh breath in Fakeye’s Timber’s Titan - Tajudeen Sowole, "The dynamics of contemporary Nigerian art may have increased transactions and diverse interests, but a revisit to periodic and native art content in Nigerian wood carver Prof. Lamidi Fakeye appears more refreshing. This much resonated during the art exhibition of the renowned carver titled Timber’s Titan, which ended last week at the Mydrim Gallery, Ikoyi Lagos Island. ... For the carver and Professor, art, particularly carving, is not about exhibitions, but the impact an artist’s work make with or without shows. This much some of the guests who spoke to at the event agreed.

Public Diplomacy Officer of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S, Lagos, Marylou Johnson-Pizarro recalled that she first got in touch with Fakeye’s works through the USIS Office in Ibadan where the artist’s works, collected by the U.S. mission in Nigeria since the 1960s, were mounted. 'I can’t remember seeing any of his works at exhibitions in any gallery. But I am very familiar with his work. His works collected then by the USIS in the 1960s, are still in our Ibadan office. Through his works, I have known more about Nigeria, particularly Yoruba culture,' Johnson-Pizarro said." Image from article, with caption: Lamidi Fakeye (right) speaking with Founder, African Refugee, Chief Segun Olusola.

End of the road for notorious kidnapping ring Niyi Osundare at forum, says good governance grows book culture ... My work is larger than any female-centred ideology –- Prof Onwueme - Mcphilips Nwachukwu and Chris Mba, "Professor Tess Onwueme is one of Africa’s foremost female playwrights and a Distinguished Professor of Cultural Diversity and English at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, USA. ... Onwueme

has received many international awards, including the prestigious Fonlon-Nichols award in literature in 2009. The award is given annually to a black writer whose works have demonstrated a commitment to democratic ideals, humanistic values and literary excellence in writing. She was also in 2007, appointed to the US State Department Public Diplomacy Specialist/Speaker Program for North, West, and East India." Onwueme image from article

Voice of America Mandarin Budget: “Keep Shortwave, for Now” - Justrecently's Weblog China: "It is true that the Broadcasting Board of Governors’ (BBG) decision to turn the Voice digital sent the wrong signal. It is also true that it would signal weakness, given the views of the target audience. But to suggest that America was therefore indeed cowering before China’s gangster regime doesn’t hold water."

Rep. Rohrabacher amendment would maintain funding for VOA Chinese, keeping it on radio and TV - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "The House Appropriations Committee

is next to decide on these funding issues, with a State and foreign operations markup scheduled for 27 July at 10:00 AM EDT." Rohrabacher image from

Ethiopian exile media keep up heat on VOA Horn of Africa controversy. Rally Monday in front of VOA HQ - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Is VOA really backing off of hard news to facilitate its growing NGO-type activities?"

China's CNC World global English news channel officially launches, with plans to expand into French, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, etc. - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "China flatters the United States by emulating the latter's system of fragmented and duplicative international broadcasting entities. CNC World will have to compete with the English-language CCTV News and the English-language Blue Ocean Network. If it has any energy left after that, it can try to compete with the likes of CNN International, BBC World News, and Al Jazeera English."

US aid to Sri Lanka drastically declined since 2005, now halted: no strategic interests in Sri Lanka - "[T]he spokesman for the Government of Sri Lanka Minister Keheliya Rambukwella needs to ... refrain from proclaiming sentiments that have absolutely no substance which reflect bad on the Rajapaksa administration. The minister’s ‘proclamation’ denotes the lack of public diplomacy and strategic communication along with the inability of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy handlers to understand the strategic nature of the United States foreign assistance program."

Parrothead Diplomacy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I just finished watching Captain America, and there will be a full write-up of the public diplomacy side of such things, but first I had to address a drive-way moment on the way back. A drive-way moment is a story on NPR that is so good that you remain in your car after you have reached your destination. This particular piece happened to be about Jimmy Buffett. Bob Edwards was interviewing the parrothead prince, and it was a fascinating discussion. Jimmy Buffett: singer, songwriter, best-selling author, poet, storyteller, international icon, jester-in-chief. The King of Margaritaville. Master showman who knows how to sell and project a tangible culture.

Businessman, as he was discussing the Margaritaville brand. I would argue public and cultural diplomat too. Public Diplomacy for Margaritaville, I could do that. ... So, on behalf of the Santos Administration, and as Undersec for Public Diplomacy for the Vinick State Department, I hereby bestow the Willis Conover Award for Cultural Diplomacy upon Jimmy Buffett." On Parrothead Party, see. Image from

"Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting." ~Christopher Morley - "I had an in-person interview with Linden Tours, an international university recruiting organization. I had applied for this position about 6 weeks to 2 months ago online, and nobody seemed to know much about it until I started speaking with US Department of State employees. Linden actually collaborates with the US Fulbright Commission abroad in organizing university fairs abroad, and it is the Public Diplomacy Officers in the Foreign Service who actually understand this relationship.

I was obviously excited to get an interview for a company in my desired profession (for those of you who missed it, it's public diplomacy/international education), and when I went for the interview everything went great. It's a small office, but they all contribute quite a bit to the overall goals of the organization, which is fabulous. ... I got a call from the president of was an offer!! AND I ACCEPTED! So as of Tuesday, I will be happily employed at Linden Tours in Old Town Alexandria." Image from article, with caption: Laura with our waiter, a man, at the drag show dinner we went to in NYC!

K-Bar List Jobs: 22 July 2011 - K-Bar List: "18. PUBLIC DIPLOMACY PLANNER - TAMPA, FL"


The Chasm Between India and the U.S.: Ideological baggage in Washington and Delhi preclude a true partnership - Harsh V. Pant, Wall Street Journal: Now both the U.S. and India find a number of ideas separating them: terrorism, the Af-Pak region, nuclear cooperation and India's role in the Asia-Pacific. This partnership can only achieve its full potential if both sides address the substantive problems. India has to stop punching below its weight in Asia. And the U.S. has to take a firmer line against Pakistan-sponsored terror and drop its nuclear fantasies. Image from article

Still a Man’s World? Foggy Bottom’s Bohemian Grove - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: Gender discrimination

in the promotion system can be subtle and subjective as well as overt. A look at today’s numbers suggests that in all likelihood it still exists. Image from

Twitter proletariat - Blake Hounshell, Foreign Policy: Is Twitter, or social media in general, a reliable source of information on these revolutions? That's a lot like asking: Is television trustworthy? Are newspapers any good? It's just a tool -- it depends on how you use it. Networks like Al Jazeera and the BBC have developed rigorous checklists for vetting information they get from online sources, from contacting eyewitnesses over Skype to authenticating regional dialects and checking new images and videos against verified geocoded ones. But in the end, like traditional news outlets, social networks rely on trust -- we're more likely to believe information we get from someone whose information has been solid in the past.

In any case, most of us don't want to spend our time hunting through Facebook pages, assessing the veracity of videos of people getting slaughtered or beaten by the police or pro-regime thugs. That's what "old media" is for -- now more than ever. Image from article

U.S. must end funding of terrorist propaganda in Palestinian camps - David Bedein, the Jerusalem bureau chief of the Israel Resource News Agency, has raised many questions about the refugee camps and the U.N. agency supporting them. Bedein has discovered that the camps are funded by donations from individuals and countries from throughout the world. As might be expected, the United States is one of the largest contributors, providing more than 30 percent of the funds. Americans are told that their money supports social services, nutrition and educational programs. But we're not told about the biased indoctrination that maybe be provided under the guise of education. The United States says it supports Israel, yet through its donations to the refugee camps, it is figuratively providing guns to terrorists. In this case, the "guns" are in the form of hateful propaganda, but the damage can be just as severe. Bedein said hundreds of thousands of refugees are being brainwashed and taught to despise Israel and accept nothing but its complete destruction.

New comic superhero to take on al-Qaeda: An American comic book author has created a new superhero whose mission is to battle al-Qaeda and "really **** people off" - Frank Miller, creator of Sin City and Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, described his new book Holy Terror as "a piece of propaganda" intended to represent a response to 9/11, the Independent reports.

The book was launched at the Comic-con conference in San Diego and will go on sale shortly after the 10-year anniversary of the attacks. Its main character is called The Fixer, a superhero that is "well adjusted in committing terrible acts of violence on very evil people." Miller said the book was "a reminder that we're in the midst of a long war" against Islamic extremism. This expected to anger the Arab world, especially as The Fixer targets Islamic terrorists while wearing a mask bearing the Star of David. Image from article, with caption: Frank Miller's Holy Terror

Israel used an Imposter and a Belly Dancer to Counteract Flotilla II - Ashraf Ezzat, The Arab nations have unanimously agreed not to normalize relations with the Israeli people as long as the Israeli aggressiveness and occupation of the Arab land in Palestine, as delineated by UN resolution 242, continues. And this popular consensus of anti-normalization with Israel is particularly and closely observed and respected by all Arabic artists, writers and intellectuals. Failing to break through this popular consensus in the Arabic world the Israeli Mossad, every now and then and through its operatives of Arabic origin in Europe, try to pull out a propaganda stunts to distract the world public opinion from the real issues of annexing the Arab land in Palestine, kicking out its indigenous people and lately bullying the pro-Palestinian political and humanitarian activists in land, air and sea and instead sell the world a Murdoch style story about the friendly and tolerant side of Israel.

Moscow: A Mystery Worth Discovering for Meetings and Incentives - Alison Hall, Russians may have moved beyond propaganda, but they’re still pretty big on slogans. T-shirts worn by the staff of Russia’s second-oldest destination management company, Russkie Prostori, a Global Events Partner, proclaim, “Let’s do it!”

(The saying, explains Managing Director Ola Kastensson, echoes first-person-in-space Yuri Gagarin’s response to the launch-pad question, “Are you ready?”) Entrepreneur and hotelier Thomas Noll, president of the Hermitage Group, likes the slogan from a recent political campaign: “In Russia, anything is possible.” Commenting on doing business in Russia, Phillipp Lookianenko of Hogg Robinson Group Worldwide says, “Moscow is not Russia and Russia is not Moscow.” Image from article, with caption: The slogan of Russian DMC Russkie Prostori, a Global Events Partner: Let's do it!


Dairy Queen, 1960, from


Thousands of propaganda leaflets were not only lofted behind the Iron Curtain in the Cold War, as we have read, but also were dropped over United States cities and towns in support of Radio Free Europe. Below, we will take a brief look at the Freedom Sky Drop in 1955.

The Civil Air Patrol, American Heritage Foundation, and the American Legion sponsored a nation-wide Freedom Sky Drop project jointly on "Freedom Day," February 22, 1955, as part of the Crusade for Freedom fund-raising campaign for Radio Free Europe. One thousand small airplanes flew over 200 American cities and towns and dropped the following package:

• Replicas of the Freedom Bell medallions sent to countries behind the Iron Curtain
• Freedom scrolls for the signatures of 41 persons
• Envelopes in which “Truth Dollar” contributions to the Crusade could be mailed
• Leaflet on Questions and Answers about Radio Free Europe
• Booklet entitled Your Crusade
• Reprints of the January 1955 Reader’s Digest article “Balloons Over the Iron Curtain”

How this was played out at the local level is exemplified by the proclamation signed by mayor James E. Neleigh of Las Cruces, New Mexico, which in part read,

WHEREAS one of the most effective media now known for accomplishing this vital task and combating the Communist lie technique is Radio Free Europe supported by the American people.

I DO HEREBY PROCLAIM Tuesday, February Twenty Second, nineteen hundred and fifty-five, as FREEDOM DAY and do recommend to each citizen that he sign the Freedom Scroll, which is being distributed and contribute Truth Dollars within his means to the support of Crusade for Freedom and the cause of peace and freedom in the world.

In the state of Nevada, the Crusade for Freedom campaign began with a formal dinner in Reno and the lofting of nine balloons with a personal message from Governor Charles Russell, who attended the launching ceremonies. On Saturday, eight Nevada cities were "bombed“ with leaflets, according to one newspaper account:

The Civil Air Patrol took over the duty of spreading leaflets over Sparks, Carson City, Minden, Virginia City, Fernley, Wadsworth, Lovelock, and Winnemucca. About 20,000 pieces of literature describing the Crusade were dropped and CAP pilots said that they had been successful in hitting their targets.

Not all cities approved of the Freedom Sky Drop. For example, New Hampshire plans to scatter 150,000 leaflets from airplanes were canceled in Manchester, Concord, Nashua, and Portsmouth when police chiefs objected that fluttering paper would be a menace to motorists.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, also declined to be involved with the Freedom Sky Drop: "The office of Milwaukee Major Frank Zeidler ruled Milwaukee out of the American Legion sponsored sky drop because of the anti-liter ordinance. Police also expressed concern over possible injury to children chasing the leaflets."

The Freedom Sky Drop became a subject of communications research at the University of Colorado, Message Diffusion Under Uncontrolled Conditions, after the dropping of 9,000 leaflet packages over Boulder, Colorado.

University researchers placed an advertisement in the local newspaper The Boulder Daily Camera with the headline:

You can contribute to National Defense ... We are trying to help the Crusade for Freedom by evaluating the effectiveness of this leaflet drop. YOU CAN HELP by filing out this questionnaire and mailing it to us. PLEASE DO THIS IMMEDIATELY.

The Freedom Sky Drop over Boulder, Colorado, was nor much of a success: of 428 persons in Boulder, who were interviewed after the airdrop, only 24 actually had a leaflet in their possession at the time of the interviews. Of that number, 12 found a leaflet on the ground and 12 were given a leaflet from another person. 244 of the 428 respondents stated that they knew of the leaflet-drop through “all the available mass media of communications,” but 184 did not know about the Freedom Sky Drop operation.

The researchers concluded, in part:

Conceptually, the total leaflet message may be restated as follows

1. A struggle is going on between the democratic and the communist nations.
2. In this struggle, Crusade for Freedom is playing a vital role, principally through its Radio Free Europe broadcasting system
3. The Crusade is supported by voluntary contributions from American citizens.
4. Their support is justified because the Crusade has been successful.
5. It is likewise justified because prominent Americans, such as the President, also promote the Crusade program.

The message is, consequently, one both of information and propaganda.

The report Message Diffusion under Uncontrolled Conditions, by Judson B. Pearson, Jiri Nehnevasja, and Rodney D. Elliott, was reviewed by Dr. Anatol Rapoport, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Vol. 53, No. 281 (Mar., 1958), pp. 254-256.

--From: Richard H. Cummings, "JULY 22, 2011: Dropping Leaflets on America: Freedom Sky Drop on Freedom Day 1955," Cold War Radios: Cold War International Broadcasting, in particular Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, 1949-1991. Image from article


Harry Kopp said...

Congress first authorized salaries for diplomatic personnel in 1856, when the maximum salary was set at $17,500. That figure had not changed when Mark Twain cited it in 1899. It did not change for fifty years more -- Congress did not increase it until 1949.

The title of ambassador, although mentioned in the Constitution, was first conferred on a U.S. diplomat only in 1893. Appointment of ambassadors did not become common until the 1940s.

Harry Kopp,

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