Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28

"First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

--Statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller; image from


"This is a reminder of tomorrow's meeting of the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy [November 29] at and in partnership with the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. The topic is narratives. ... The event will be webcast live at I'm told the online audience is limited to the first 45. The format of the 9am-3pm event is Q&A and we will be taking questions from the online audience. A transcript will be published as will the video of the event." - email message from Matt Armstrong, Executive Director, U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy


VOA and BBG Briefing and Tour: Thursday, December 8, 2011 from 8:30 AM to 10:45 AM (ET) Washington


To the best of my knowledge, based on Google Analytics and e-mails from PDPBR readers, the totally harmless (granted, as I see it) Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review continues to be "firewalled" in mainland China, the only country on our small planet to do so, a judgment arrived at on my part with regrettably limited information. Given the PRC's interest in "public diplomacy," this apparent censorship seems like a somewhat odd and rather parochial attitude out of step with the twenty-first century, based as it should be on "open communications."

Perhaps the endless number of American delegations, from both the public and private sector, who visit China to achieve "mutual understanding" between the two countries (on the American side, not infrequently at taxpayers' expense) could bring this minor matter up, raised by an ordinary US citizen/blogger, when they deal with Chinese counterparts on public diplomacy matters.

I have also been informed, by a most reliable source on several occasions, that when the PDPBR is forwarded to State Department e-mail addresses it is "firewalled." If this, I am sure honestly made, statement is off-the-mark, would appreciate hearing so at: Image from


Top U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors official racked up $108,000 travel - ted, Blogger News Network: "BBG Watch has learned that a top Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) executive has racked up $108,000 in travel expenses so far this year. Sources tell us that the official has no real responsibilities but likes to show up to take credit for the work already done by other BBG employees. According to one source, 'he has no job that we know of, spends most of his time on the road. As far as I can tell, he has accomplished absolutely nothing. He often goes on travel and then meets his family in some exotic locale.' The same source reported that the BBG executive made a stop-over in Paris on a recent trip to Asia.

BBG Watch has not identified the official. ... A BBG Watch source also reported that a top Voice of America manager travels frequently at U.S. government expense to Miami where his family lives. BBG Watch asks 'why is this allowed?' BBG Watch suspects that some of these BBG officials have managed to get for themselves 'blanket U.S. government travel orders' which make it possible for them to initiate their own travel without having to seek higher level approval each time they want to visit their family or meet them in an exotic location abroad. ... [BBG Chairman] Walter Isaacson has plans to privatize the Voice of America, Radio Marti and TV Marti. Critics fear that such a privatization would turn VOA and the U.S. government-funded stations broadcasting to Cuba into a CNN-clone run by former CNN employees." Image from article

BBC Global News exec: "We continue to deliver twice the audience for every pound invested than the American broadcasters" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "[T]he combined weekly audience of US international broadcasting (five entities in 59 languages) is 187 million, larger

than that of BBC World Service (27 languages) at 166 million. The weekly audience for BBC Global News, adding World Service, BBC World News (the global English television news channel), and the international version of, is 225 million. The annual budget of the US Broadcasting Board of Governors is $760 million, versus $338 million for BBC World Service. BBC World News is, in theory, self-funding through advertising, and the international has already announced a profit." Image from

Idea for graduate thesis: compare and contrast Central Asia Online with RFE/RL's Central Asian services - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "RFE/RL's content might resemble that of Central Asia Online [funded by the Defense Department] if US international broadcasting is 'coordinated' in a US strategic communication framework, as advocated by some Washington think tank fellows."

Jacque Robinson Chosen for International Exchange with China: Group of Political Leaders Will Focus On Chinese Governance -  [Pasadena, California] CouncilmemberJacque Robinson has been selected by Washington, D.C.-based international education NGO the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) for a 9-member bipartisan delegation of American political and policy professionals to China. The delegation will leave on December 2nd. This marks the 32nd year of exchange partnerships with the All-China Youth Federation. ... Each ACYPL exchange provides a unique opportunity for politically diverse individuals to explore common concerns and points of difference. The American participants going to China include Democrats and Republicans.

Since its founding in 1966, the American Council of Young Political Leaders has designed, organized and managed unique international exchange activities for young (age 25-40) political and policy leaders worldwide who are selected based on their current political leadership roles and potential for future achievement. ACYPL programs are designed to promote mutual understanding, respect, and friendship and to cultivate long-lasting relationships among next generation leaders. Each year, with support from the US State Department and a wide range of corporate, labor, foundation and individual partners, conduct exchanges with 25-30 countries around the world. ACYPL has a network of over 7,500 alumni in 100 countries, many of whom have risen to positions of national and international prominence, including over 40 current members of the US Congress, 6 current US governors and ambassadors, and cabinet ministers and parliamentarians around the globe." Uncaptioned image from article

VOA Croatian Service closes; was descendant of VOA Serbo-Croatian dating to 1943 - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from

RFE/RL reports on initial audience reactions to the new Al Jazeera Balkans - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "[From the report:] '[There are] fears in some Balkan observers that Al-Jazeera

may have set stakes in the region with the hopes of turning its focus away from Europe and closer to the Middle East.'" Image from

Serbian House opens in London - EMportal: "Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Jeremic and President of the Serbian Olympic Committee Vlade Divac opened yesterday the Serbian House in downtown London, which during the 2012 Olympic Games will be the place of gathering and promotion of the Serbian culture and economy. ... Public diplomacy is a growing segment of diplomacy, and the best way for Serbia to be visible in the world are sporting achievements, said the Minister and expressed the belief that our athletes will achieve good results at the upcoming Olympics. We should take a moment of attention to promote Serbia in every way, given that tens of millions of visitors will be in London at the time, he said."

Turkey to host Global Entrepreneurship Summit - "The 2011 Global Entrepreneurship Summit will take place in Istanbul between December 3 and 6 under the auspices of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to the web site of the Turkish Prime Ministry's Public Diplomacy Department, the summit would take place under the auspices of Erdogan at the Istanbul Harbiye Congress Center.

The summit is designed to help global entrepreneurship and facilitate cooperation between entrepreneurs from all corners of the world. U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden will also be one of the participants of the summit." Image from

Only Erdoğan can save NATO - Kadri Gürsel, "In the midst of the Arab revolutions, in which NATO is an intervening party, it becomes a must that Turkey-NATO relations are discussed. At the beginning of last week, the meeting I attended in Brussels had this aim. Last Tuesday, I learned at a meeting organized by the International Relations Council of Turkey, which is based at Kadir Has University, and NATO Public Diplomacy Division that NATO was preparing a campaign in Turkey for the 60th year of its membership. ... The fact that NATO feels the need to explain itself to a country that has been a member for three generations is a sad situation from the point of view of the alliance. And at the same time, it is an understandable reaction. Given that only 37 percent of the country thinks 'NATO membership is important regarding the country’s security' (Source: 2011 Transatlantic Trends survey), then it becomes clear why NATO wants to increase its level of acceptance. According to NATO officials, 'misperception' or the 'wrong conceptualization' of the alliance is not the only reason that NATO support in Turkey started dropping after the end of the Cold War.

The deterioration of Turkish-U.S. relations as well as the decrease in the support for the European Union also plays a role in this. ... During the meetings, a striking proposal came from academic Ahmet Han from Kadir Has University. 'The most valid remedy is that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally praises Turkey’s NATO membership and NATO to the Turkish nation,' he said." Image from

Former EU commissioner urges Turkey and EU to work together on Arab Spring - "[Günter] Verheugen, who was invited by the Prime Ministry’s Office of Public Diplomacy to deliver speeches at several conferences

on the foreign policies of Turkey and the EU and the Arab Spring, believes Turkey has a place in the EU." Uncaptioned image from article

Member States amend certain EU financial instruments for developing countries - "The [European] Council approved to amend certain EU financial instruments for developing countries. ... This programme supports in particular the promotion of economic partnership and market access for European companies. In addition, it also contributes to actions concerning public diplomacy and people to people links, for instance the Erasmus mundus programme for exchanges among students and higher education institutions between the EU and those states. Over the period 2007-2013, the budget of the instrument amounts to €176 million."

Ministry taps social media to tone up image abroad - Karthik Subramanian, "The Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs is tapping the ever-buzzing world of online social networks for improving the image of the nation worldwide. Its ongoing short video challenge, ‘India is,' has received more than 50 entries from across the world since October 1. The competition's official page on Facebook has a following of more than 20,000 users, and Twitter is abuzz with mentions. 'One of our key objectives is to engage with diverse audiences around the world,' Navdeep Suri, Joint Secretary and head of the Division, said in an email interview with The Hindu.

'Social media is emerging as one of the key instruments that helps us in achieving this objective.' ... The Ministry's Facebook account has close to 20,000 fans, says Mr. Suri. The demographics of the Facebook fans makes for interesting reading: persons from South Asian countries, Indonesia and Egypt are some of the largest groupings. And nearly 52 per cent of them are in the 18-24 age group. 'We are trying to deploy Facebook to engage with the younger generation and build a community of ‘Friends of India' who are interested in diverse facets of Indian culture and, perhaps, in Indian foreign policy too,' he adds. The official Twitter account of the Ministry ( has 19,000 followers." Image from

On Citizens’ Day, Estonia Recognises Promoters of Public Diplomacy - "In honour of Citizens’ Day, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet is thanking and recognising active promoters of public diplomacy with thank-you letters. The recipients have helped to introduce Estonia and strengthen its ties with other countries. According to Foreign Minister

Urmas Paet, all people can help increase Estonia’s foreign political influence and good reputation abroad through public diplomacy. 'Public diplomacy is a good opportunity for small countries, and we wish to encourage public diplomacy activities. Close communication among people plays a vital role in introducing Estonia and in intensifying relations with foreign countries,' stated Paet. 'We highly value the contribution of those people who have taken it upon themselves to introduce Estonia and to actively maintain Estonian culture abroad,' emphasised Foreign Minister Urmas Paet." Image from

Rising Power PD - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Prof. Robin Brown of University of Leeds has a very interesting article about Brazil's public diplomacy challenges as a rising power, given the growing apprehensions of its neighbors. I wrote a bit about Brazilian consensual hegemony and its attempts to use soft power to "soften" its rise regionally. I am quite interested to explore the topic of rising power pd further. With great examples found in China, Brazil, India and Germany (and Japan in the 1980s), there is ample wonky pd fun to be had. I have been kicking around a working concept of what rising power (or emerging power) public diplomacy entails, and how it differs from the public diplomacy of middle powers. It is kind of a middle power+ pd strategy, that relies on a broader version of niche diplomacy, a more pronounced approach to soft power projection and a consensual hegemony model of projecting value and utility. Perhaps it could be mixed in with conceptualization of the public diplomacy of regional hegemons, and then I could include South Africa or Nigeria into the mix. Sounds like some fun stuff I will get to work on for PhD research."


Enraged Pakistanis burn Obama effigy, slam US - AFP: Hundreds of enraged Pakistanis took to the streets across the country Sunday, burning an effigy of President Barack Obama and setting fire to US flags after 24 soldiers died in NATO air strikes.

The rallies were organised by opposition and right-wing Islamist groups in major cities of the nuclear-armed country of 167 million people, where opposition to the government's US alliance is rampant. They carried placards and banners, and shouted: "down with America," "down with NATO," "Yankees go back", "vacate Afghanistan and Pakistan" and "stop drone attacks" -- a reference to a CIA drone war against Islamist militants. Image from article

In Fog of War, Rift Widens Between U.S. and Pakistan - Steven Lee Myers, The NATO air attack that killed at least two dozen Pakistani soldiers over the weekend reflected a fundamental truth about American-Pakistani relations when it comes to securing the unruly border with Afghanistan: the tactics of war can easily undercut the broader strategy that leaders of both countries say they share. Pakistan had reason to feel that the United States had violated its sovereignty.

Pakistan secretly helps, publicly hits U.S. interests - Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times: U.S. military personnel who have served in the region tell The Washington Times that Pakistan does far more in secret than either side acknowledges.

It wants money from Washington to keep flowing, yet fears a democratic Afghanistan could one day align itself with archenemy India, analysts say. Image from article: Protesters rally in Lahore, Pakistan, on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011, to condemn a NATO airstrike on Pakistani troops that killed 24 along the nation’s border with Afghanistan

Afghanistan is safer today but still needs our help - Simon Gass, Washington Post: Afghanistan wasn’t always the war-torn country that we see in the news. It was once peaceful. And if we can bear the cost for just a little longer, it can be again. That would be good for Afghanistan and good for us, too. The writer is NATO’s senior civilian representative in Afghanistan.

Translating Afghanistan: The interpreters of the U.S. Third Infantry Brigade Combat Team on America's mission, the Taliban, and the future of their country - Anne Jolis, Wall Street Journal: Meet the interpreters of the U.S. Third Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division. All are Afghan natives, though some are now U.S. citizens as well. For the moment, they all call the base home. And in the past month, three of them have gotten engaged—an occasion to celebrate. While a wrist-flicking, single-sex dance party is rare enough in America, the interpreters are also engaging in an activity more familiar among Western men: arguing about politics. Specifically, the looming U.S. drawdown from Afghanistan.

Pentagon Spends Millions Protecting Uzbekistan Dictator - Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov is notorious for heading one of the world’s most oppressive regimes, and millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being given to a for-profit

military contractor turned propaganda machine to make sure he remains a faithful and able ally in the global war on terror. Freedom House, a D.C.-based nongovernmental organization that conducts international human rights research, gave Karimov’s Uzbekistan the lowest score possible in its Freedom in the World report. Uncaptioned image from

Motives of foreign student recruiters questioned - Alan Scher Zagier, Associated Press, Washington Times: As American universities welcome ever-greater numbers of international students, some professors and admissions counselors are questioning the motives of the very professionals who have helped attract so many foreign scholars to their campuses. Higher education recruiters are under fire from detractors who say they put profit ahead of students' best interests. Critics accuse them of sending thousands of unqualified applicants to the U.S. every year, sometimes allowing students to skip basic English tests and falsify applications to make a quick commission.

"There are very good recruiters out there who are very solid and do all the right things," said George Wolf, the school's vice president of enrollment management. "And then there are recruiters out there just to a make a buck." Image from

Piracy vs. an open Internet: In seeking to protect copyright holders from online piracy, especially from sites overseas, bills in both the House and Senate go to risky extremes -, Editorial: To avoid the reach of U.S. copyright laws, numerous online pirates have set up shop in countries less willing or able to enforce intellectual property rights. Policymakers agree that these "rogue" sites pose a real problem for U.S. artists and rights holders who aren't getting paid for the rampant distribution of their music, movies and other creative works. The question is how to help them. Lawmakers keep offering proposals, but they don't seem to be getting any closer to the right answer.

When droids take your job: A duo from MIT argue that rapid computer advances may be vaporizing careers faster than workers can train for new ones - Editorial, The challenge

for the United States — and every other country — is helping more people to take advantage of that leap in power rather than being left behind by it. Image from article

Nalbandian calls EU attention to Baku’s anti-Armenian propaganda
- On November 28, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian met with the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, Philippe Lefort. The parties focused on a vast range of Armenia-related issues, including the recent visit of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, as well

at Brussels-hosted EU-Armenia sitting. Nalbandian and Lefort discussed recent developments in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement, with the Foreign Minister calling the EU envoy’s attention to Baku’s anti-Armenian propaganda, Armenian Foreign Ministry’s press service reported. Uncaptioned image from article

Five Best [Books about Soviet espionage] - Allen M. Hornblum, Wall Street Journal

Obey Giant: Worldwide Propaganda Delivery - GlobaLove Think Tank:

Image from entry


The 21st Century Family of Man
 - [Nov 19, 2009] "Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English. I'm Mario Ritter. Over fifty years ago a photographic exhibit called 'The Family of Man' opened in New York City. It was a popular show with critics and the public. This fall, a similar exhibit opened in Los Angeles. It was organized by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Barbara Klein tells about 'The Twenty-first Century Family of Man.' In nineteen fifty-five, photographer Edward Steichen organized a collection of more than five hundred pictures of and by people all over the world. The photographers were professionals and non-professionals alike. The collection was called 'The Family of Man.' It was shown first at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The show was designed to express the connections that link humans everywhere.

Nick Cullen [should be Cull -- JB] is a professor of public diplomacy at the University of Southern California. He says Steichen's exhibit brought in crowds as it traveled from country to country. NICK CULLEN: 'I think part of its success was that everybody could recognize something of themselves in the exhibit and so the Family of Man show belonged to everybody.' Twenty-nine-year-old photographer Paul Rockower shows his own Family of Man pictures in the new exhibit at the University of Southern California. He says it is a re-imagining of the first show with a modern touch. Mr. Rockower has traveled and studied outside the United States since he was a teenager. He always had his camera with him. He took pictures of people, places and things around him. The exhibit presents about seventy of those images. PAUL ROCKOWER: 'I think the theme that comes out is really the unity of mankind, that we are all the same, the things that we share are things like family, like faith, like friendship. These are the things that are universal qualities found everywhere you go.' 'The Twenty-first Century Family of Man' exhibit continues at the Annenberg Gallery at U.S.C. in Los Angeles until May of next year.'" Image from


Man dies after collapsing in shopping center during Black Friday: Goes unnoticed by other shoppers - Kathryn Kattalia, New York Daily News: A Black Friday shopper who collapsed at a West Virginia shopping center — and later died — went virtually unnoticed by others racing to snatch up early-bird sales. Walter Vance, 61, of Logan County, W. Va., was shopping for Christmas decorations

around 12:15 a.m. at a Target in South Charleston, W. Va., when he got sick and fell to floor, local news station WSAZ reported. Witnesses said shoppers continued walking around the store, some even stepping over the man's body. Image from article, with caption: Walter Vance, 61, of Logan County, West Virginia, who collapsed and died at Target in South Charleston on Black Friday.

42% of L.A. sidewalks await repairs: Los Angeles' backlog of sidewalk repairs could cost up to $1.6 billion and, at the current rate, take nearly 70 years. The city considers handing the responsibility to property owners - Ari Bloomekatz,

Image from article, with caption: Judy Griffin, a West Los Angeles resident who uses a motorized wheelchair, says she often has trouble with the condition of the sidewalks.

Here's Your Latest Recurrent Callista Gingrich Scream Nightmare Horror - Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog. Image (one of several close-ups of Callista) from blog.

In the nation’s capital, underground is where it’s at - Christian Davenport, Washington Post: For the moment, let’s say we’re not buying the official, nothing-to-see-here story the White House is dishing about the gaping hole being ripped into the lawn outside the Oval Office. Let’s say we suspect the construction crews that have been dipping their backhoes into the most secure soil in the free world are doing something more complex than mere utility work.

The feds may claim that it’s just “upgrades and replacement of utility infrastructure” of a size and complexity that require the excavation of a hole so big it could easily fit the entire Cabinet — and maybe some members of Congress, too. But they’re somewhat vague as to the specifics. And so we wonder. It’s a bunker, right? It’s gotta be a bunker. Image from article, with caption: A deep hole in front of the West Wing.


American bunkers - Built in apprehension of the enemy that never came, Alex Fradkin has photographed the architecture of war along the coastal landscape of the San Francisco Bay area. The earliest bunkers date from the Mexican–American War all the way up to the Cold War.


F.T said...

Nice blog and interesting news reports and articles.

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