Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 13

"If we move out into the Iraqi economy, out into the Iraqi society in any significant way, it will be much harder to protect our people."

--U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, in a Wall Street Journal interview; cited in DiploPundit; image from


American dollars - Saba Javed, pakobserver.net: "While the sole ‘superpower’ continues to ravish country after country, it has miserably failed to keep in check the rising hatred against its policies worldwide, particularly in the Muslim World. The very fact that billions of dollars

poured into countries of the world in the name of public diplomacy have not been able to generate desired goodwill for America, is a stark reminder to American policy makers to reconsider their war mongering. US has decided, on paper at least, to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan in 2014. They are pretending that they have been successful in containing the so-called terrorism, but as matter of fact, they are far from that objective. US image which was viewed as immiscible [sic] that is no one can militarily defeat it, stands changed now because of the failure even after 10 years of WOT in Afghanistan. Image and credibility of US has been greatly eroded. Occupying Afghanistan for over a decade and still crying that terrorism remains a big problem shows that the US spending trillion of dollars for almost 10 years on war against terrorism goes all in vain." Image from

Obama steps into Iran row over drone - news.rediff.com: "I wrote yesterday that the ramifications of Iran’s 'scoop' - downing the US drone ('Beast of Kandahar') - are bound to spread. President Barack Obama has now broken silence, revealing, 'We’ve asked for it back - we’ll see how the Iranians respond.' This is public diplomacy at its very best. The dozen words will be keenly analysed not only in Tehran but in many world capitals, especially Beijing and Moscow. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta promptly stepped in to cover for Obama, saying he won’t expect Tehran to heed the US demarche.

Interestingly, Panetta spoke of US having made a 'request' rather than a demand, which leaves leeway to backtrack. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also carefully used the word 'request' - and that too, in the presence of visiting British Foreign Secretary William Hague." Image from, with caption: The Traffic Surveillance Drone project has received initial funding from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration's Priority. See also John Brown, "Drones and Veils," Notes and Essays, with following images inviting a comparison:

Public Schedule for December 13, 2011 - U.S. Department of State: "ASSISTANT SECRETARY ANN STOCK (R): 3:45 p.m. Assistant Secretary Stock (R) delivers remarks to the new Foreign Service Officers of the 164th A-100 class, at the Foreign Service Institute. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)"

Martí Program Bridging Cuban and American Business - noodls.com: "An innovative Martí program focuses on the future of Cuba through conversations bridging Cuban and American business people as part of the next episode of Avanza Cuba (Cuba Forward), scheduled for December 14, 2011 from 11am to 12pm.

The program, to be broadcast from Radio Martí's Miami studios, will feature Cuban bloggers and entrepreneurs from within the island, in conversation with Cuban business owners in Union City, New Jersey, as well as other special guests and audience participation. The episode focuses on the nascent Cuban business community made up of 'cuentapropistas', a uniquely Cuban term for entrepreneurs which roughly translates as 'being-on-their-owns'. ... The Office of Cuba Broadcasting, which is funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors, was established in 1990 to oversee the operations of Radio and TV Martí, which broadcast news and information to the people of Cuba." Image from

Tourism and Public Diplomacy - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "VisitBritain ... is the national organization for promoting tourism to the UK that sits above the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish organizations. It’s interesting to see VisitBritain cheerfully describe itself as a public diplomacy organization given how sensitive the British Council and the BBC World Service are to the label. The bigger thought here is that we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of tourism within the public diplomacy field while in the US tourism may be a matter for states and cities in other countries there are powerful national tourism organizations.

Firstly, the experience of tourism is an important influence on perceptions of other countries. Secondly, a large part of the effort that many countries devote to shaping international perceptions is about tourism. Tourism promotion will probably be the external communication effort that has the largest reach into targeted foreign societies. Thirdly, the existence of tourism promotion organizations affects other public diplomacy organizations ... . [T]here is certainly reason for students of public diplomacy to pay more attention to the interactions between their concerns and those of the tourism community." Image from

Collaborative power: The case for Sweden - Stefan Geens, dliberation.org: "The ideas brainstormed at the workshop on the future of Sweden’s digital public diplomacy are still far too tentative to sketch out, but it’s worth musing on some general strategies for Sweden that a network-centric world implies. In a collaborative power dynamic, the network quickly disseminates best practices for the good of all, with a concomitant boost to the reputation of the originator. In this context, gaining reputation is akin to 'moving to the center' of a network, improving both the quantity and quality of connections. This should be Sweden’s aim in its digital public diplomacy. Sweden has plenty of best practices to share with the world — and the world has plenty to share with Sweden. For Sweden’s foreign-facing government agencies, the challenge becomes ever tighter integration and interaction with the networks along which these ideas travel.

Where networks are scarce, it is in Sweden’s interest to build up their physical capacity. As a nation-state, Sweden has considerable resources available (when compared to NGOs and civil society actors) to build the foundations for networks that can grow autonomously around prioritized issues. Both YLVP and She Entrepreneurs, a network connecting young female social entrepreneurs in the Middle East with mentors in Sweden, are great examples of such capacity building. Finally, even open networks need to be trusted before they can be used to build trust. For digital networks, this means they need to be safe and secure for users, regardless of where they live. Power attracts attention, and the collaborative power residing in a network is no different. Digital natives cannot afford to be digital naïfs about the fact that censorship, surveillance and cyber-attacks constitute a real systemic risk to networks. The Swedish state should not be responsible for securing such networks but it can work with others do get the job done. Fortunately, Sweden has recourse to some great hacktivist talent. So: Build networks, secure networks, engage networks. These are three useful motifs around which Sweden can structure its future digital public diplomacy efforts. The devil is of course in the details." Image from

Statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov - brics-ped.com.br: "Dear colleagues, We are grateful to everyone who has responded to our joint initiative to hold a meeting today between the Foreign Ministry’s leadership and the Public Chamber of Russia on the theme 'Public diplomacy as an instrument of foreign policy and civil society development.' This is the first time we meet in this format. However, the Russian foreign affairs agency has extensive enough experience cooperating with civil society. This occurs at regular, several-times-a-year, meetings of the Scientific Council under the auspices of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the analogous Business Council; in the course of the annual meetings of the Minister with representatives of leading Russian nongovernmental organizations; and during the regular communication of Russian NGOs with relevant departments of the Ministry. (…) We are confident that the aforesaid areas of cooperation are promising.

We are interested in ensuring that our NGOs are no less active than similar Western entities represented in the CIS space, especially in view of the ongoing processes of the creation of the integration entities with the participation of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, and the Russian interests to deepen partnership with Ukraine and the countries of Central Asia and the South Caucasus, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia. None of this should come at the expense of nongovernmental relations with the European Union countries and the United States." Lavrov image from entry

Bloggers to receive GPO cards - Carl in Jerusalem, Israel Matzav: "The Advisory Committee on Evaluating the Criteria for Issuing Government Press Office (GPO) Cards this morning (Tuesday), 13.12.11, submitted its recommendations to Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, Public Diplomacy, Diaspora Affairs Ministry Director-General Ronen Plot and GPO Director Oren Helman. The Committee recommended unifying the various types of cards issued by the GPO under the single heading 'GPO Card' which would serve all those engaged in media professions. In light of the Committee's recommendations, it was proposed to expand the content of the substantive definitions of media and the list of media professions and positions in order to adapt them to recent changes and developments in the field. The new definitions include media professions and means such as bloggers and niche portals. ... Minister Yuli Edelstein said that, 'At a time when claims are being raised about shutting people up, reducing freedom of the press and interference, the Committee's recommendations are genuinely good news in expanding pluralism and reducing the room for consideration by the issuing authority regarding the issuing of press credentials. The Committee's recommendations give expression to the undeniable changes vis-à-vis the development of the new media and questions of what is a newspaper and who is a journalist. We are in a new era which finds expression in the recommendations of the Committee.' ... Bloggers were promised press cards by the

director general of the Prime Minister's office, Ron Dermer, at the bloggers' conference in September of 2009. I don't know why it took that long - it will be curious to see if there are any criteria (like traffic) for defining bloggers. That's one thing that could have held them up. Will it make a difference? Only for the official government events and press conferences. I already get invited to conferences all the time (including the President's Conference last year). I don't blog full time, so while I will be happy to get a press card, I'm not sure how much I will use it. But it's worth having. I wonder how the mainstream media types will react to the competition." Image from, with caption: Ron Dermer ... is Benjamin Netanyahu’s most influential aide

Still nοt enough, December 13: Inventing a dagger - Erenest David, Tel Aviv, yadisrael.com: "Dear Sir, I wаѕ delighted tο read аbουt a nеw hasbara policy being launched bу Prime Minister Netanyahu’s director οf communications аnd public diplomacy, Yoaz Hendel ('PM’s video οn Human Rights Day іѕ small sign οf nеw ‘hasbara’ policy,' December 9). Bυt, I had hoped thіѕ wουƖd gο beyond responding tο past οr future events. Hasbara іѕ a very passive word. Whаt іѕ needed іѕ аn aggressive policy οf thе dissemination οf іn rank aimed аt undermining ουr enemies. Wе ѕhουƖd learn frοm others. One hаѕ οnƖу tο look аt thе material published bу thе Palestinian Solidarity Campaign tο see thаt thіѕ іѕ a well funded аnd coordinated program οf propaganda thаt daily thumps out anti-Israel material, organizes meetings, publishes material (largely untrue) аnd lobbies people οf influence. Thіѕ campaign іѕ nοt one οf reaction tο specific events, bυt one thаt іѕ раrt οf a political strategy aimed аt portraying Israel аѕ a demonic, illegal aggressor. Wе mυѕt bе proactive, nοt immediate. Wе mυѕt hаνе a comprehensive strategy based οn winning hearts аnd minds. Thе fundamental thουght mυѕt bе repeated again аnd again: Israel hаѕ a rіght tο exist іn peace аnd іn сhοѕе-upon borders."

Attack on Iran will have 'calamitous' consequences, says Prince Turki - Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Arab News: "Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, on Monday called for the creation of a nuclear-free Middle East while supporting a system based on rewards and sanctions to deter nations in the region with nuclear ambitions. Prince Turki, who is extensively engaged in public diplomacy by touring and lecturing across the world, also said that any attack on Iran will have huge consequences for the region and its adverse implications will be felt worldwide. ... [H]e also noted that the last year's nuclear Non-Proliferation

Treaty (NPT) review conference included in its final document a call for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of all weapons of mass destruction. Prince Turki ... pointed out that an intergovernmental conference to discuss such a zone was scheduled for 2012. Most of the countries in the region except Israel and Iran are pursuing nuclear programs for peaceful purposes. The Kingdom has also announced it will build 16 reactors for nuclear power plants that should start active operations within the next 20 years. Image from article, with caption: Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, second right, and Faisal Al-Mubarak, provost of Alfaisal University, second from left, with Alfaisal University officials in Riyadh on Monday

Yao Ming, the first time in community - glengwendo: New podcast weblog: "A month ago, in their own retirement ceremony, Yao said, he just left the basketball court, ceased to be a professional athlete, but in the future, he appears in many more areas, there are more things to do. 5 months later, Yao ming has a new identity. Yesterday, at the Shanghai Association of public diplomacy at the second meeting of the first session of the Governing Council held, Yao was added as Vice President, and was honored as Honorary Ambassador. Yao ming says he will work hard, make contributions to promoting exchanges, 'I am very willing to use my influence, actively engaged in the practice of public diplomacy!' However, facing the media focus, Yao ming explains what served as Vice President of the Association of public diplomacy is not the 'official', is a social organization in public positions, and he is willing to use his fame and influence, to present developments in the home to more people. Yao ming was elected Vice President of the Shanghai Society for foreign policy serving in social groups received the letter of appointment for the first time."

India Blog Series: The Portrayal of Islam in Indian Mass Media - Anna Dawson, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "After meeting today with Navdeep Suri, Joint Secretary and Head of the Public Diplomacy Division in India, we learned that in the context of the Arab Spring, India is promoting Islam as an important aspect of Indian history and culture. One way to look at how well this is being done in India is to look at the way Indian mass media portrays Islam. It appears that Islam is often under- and mis-represented in the Indian media in both the Hindi and Urdu languages. This is important for public diplomacy because what India projects to the rest of the world has to accurately reflect what is happening internally to gain credibility. Because of the disconnect between a democracy that supports all people and a media that doesn't reflect this, India should

reexamine the way that people in-country see themselves and their own identities before projecting an image abroad." Image from

Conference on: Is the international strategy for the Western Balkans in trouble? Addressing the socio-political obstacles to the Western Balkans’ NATO and EU accession processes, Thessaloniki, 16-17/12/2011 - eliamep.gr: "The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and Navarino Network jointly organize a Conference on: Is the international strategy for the Western Balkans in trouble? Addressing the socio-political obstacles to the Western Balkans’ NATO and EU accession processes. The Conference will take place in Thessaloniki on 16-17 December 2011, at the Electra Palace Hotel, and it is supported by the NATO Public Diplomacy Division."

Creative Conservative Action Tools -liberatchik.com: "The word [propaganda] comes from the activities of a special sacred congregation of the Roman Catholic Church…which sought to spread the faith and recruit members.

In the US in the 1980s, the term ‘public diplomacy’ was introduced. Government-sponsored reports and articles were presented to the media as independent sources……black propaganda (a pack of lies), grey propaganda (half-truths and distortions), white propaganda (the truth). Propaganda has been practiced since the earliest times, but modern mass media has made it much easier to appeal to wide domestic and foreign audiences…" Image from, with title "Pontifical Urban College: "Euntes Docete!," and caption: "Missioners of the Church!"

Public Aff[ai]rs Officer Kimberly Williams explains public diplomacy - Mickey's blog: [No text; only photos]

(Note other items related to cultural diplomacy appeared in PDPBR Dec. 5-12)

Beijing welcomes will.I.am, basketball tourney - Todd Balazovic, China Daily: "Black Eyed Peas frontman will.I.am is doing his part to contribute to United States-China relations as he travels to Beijing this week for a concert designed to further the two countries' cultural diplomacy. The seven-time Grammy Award winner is one of dozens of Chinese and American artists who will share the spotlight at the Booey Lehoo arts festival, who's name has been transliterated from a Confucian saying in Mandarin meaning to welcome into one's home.

Part of the 100,000 Strong Initiative launched by Hillary Clinton last year, the event kicks off on Friday with a 16x16 tipoff basketball tournament where 16 underprivileged high schools students from the US will mix and match with 16 Chinese students. The event is part of continued efforts by both countries to open up dialogue through arts exchanges. ... The festival is the largest effort so far in the 100,000 Strong Initiative, which aims at increasing the diversity and number of US students studying in China. American and Chinese students, volunteers, teachers and interns from a diverse range of backgrounds have come together in growing numbers in academic, professional and social settings to form friendships, exchange ideas and learn from each other,' said US Embassy spokesman Richard Buangan." Image from article, with caption: Black Eyed Peas, without Fergie (middle), will perform at the National Stadium on Dec 17.

Tracking Pakistan’s ‘final destiny’ - Rakhshanda Jalil, himalmag.com: "At a time when Pakistan is being viewed as a rogue state bent upon a path of conflict and confrontation, A Large White Crescent

speaks for the need to engage in dialogue. It offers a collection of readings from writers as diverse as Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Al-Beruni, Muhammad Bin Qasim and Eqbal Ahmad, Dara Shikoh and Shah Waliullah, Syed Ahmad Khan and Amir Khusrau, M A Jinnah and Ubaidullah Sindhi – a potpourri that includes those who were born, in some cases, centuries before the birth of the ‘idea’ of Pakistan. ... Ahmad explains his impulse in compiling these readings, from across the spectrum of social, religious and political thought, as facilitating ‘cross-cultural communication’ and providing texts that can ‘serve as a profitable reading for the practitioners and theoreticians of the fast developing field of cultural diplomacy.’ This reference to ‘cultural diplomacy’ is interesting. As we all know, it is seldom the content of anthologies that reveals anything new; it is more the choice, the editorial voice or the intent behind a critical inclusion (or exclusion), that is far more interesting. ... Still, the book does offer some penetrating reflections. In particular, readers area allowed the opportunity to ruminate on how Pakistani writers and opinion makers view themselves and their country, how they locate themselves in the cross-currents of debate and discussion within the Islamic framework and, more importantly, where they draw their inspiration for the trajectory they want to lay out for their fellow countrymen." Image from

FG, Germany Sign Bi-National Commission Pact - Abimbola Ajani, thisdaylive.com: "The Federal Government of Nigeria and the that of Germany have signed a joint declaration on a bi-national commission (BNC) to strengthen the bi-lateral partnership between the two countries. ... According to a press statement ... the BNC will draw participation from stakeholders, most especially from the private sector driven by relevant ministries in the country. 'The Commission is also expected to explore new vistas of cooperation in political consultation, reform of the UN, trade and economic relations, power and energy, education, immigration, cultural diplomacy, aviation and human rights and capacity building', it said."

Antigua and Barbuda High Commission Earns Accolades‎ - Caribarena Antigua: "The recent Third Ben TV Diplomatic Awards 2011 saw Antigua & Barbuda's High Commission receive two awards in the category of 'Most Positive Projection of a Country’s Image Abroad' and for 'Economic and Cultural Diplomacy'. The Commission won these sought after awards by impressing the judging panel after several unannounced visits to the twin-island destination on customer service; its display of promotional materials; easy access to the mission’s services; easy accessibility and navigation on its website; cultural and economic diplomacy; how easy is it to get a visa and passport; and how easy it is to establish a business in its country. The panel was also impressed with the destination’s stand at this year’s World Travel Market.

The Ben TV Diplomatic Award’s recognises and celebrates the diplomatic achievements made within the African, Caribbean, Asia and Pacific missions in the UK." Image from

Vietnam - 27th Diplomatic Conference - isria.com: "Diplomats are gathering in Ha Noi for the 27th diplomatic conference to discuss ways to assist the country's development.
Speaking on the opening day of the conference on Dec. 12, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong affirmed the important role of the diplomatic sector and highlighted its past achievements, particularly in expanding relations, including with powerful countries. ... The conference will continue until Dec. 19, with sessions and discussions on political, economic and cultural diplomacy, as well as foreign news service, assistance to Overseas Vietnamese and protection of Vietnamese nationals."


U.S. lawmakers freeze $700 million to Pakistan, ties strained - Qasim Nauman and Augustine Anthony, reuters.com: A U.S. Congressional panel has frozen $700 million in aid to Pakistan until it gives assurances it is helping fight the spread of homemade bombs in the region, a move one Pakistani senator called unwise and likely to strain ties further. Pakistan is one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid and the cutback announced is only a small proportion of the billions in civil

and military assistance it gets each year. But it could presage even greater cuts. The aid freeze targets funds used to fight Taliban insurgents. The bill would also require the Pentagon to deliver a strategy for improving the effectiveness of U.S. aid to Pakistan. Image from article, with caption: A supporter of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), a religious and political party, holds collected party flags and placards after an anti-American demonstration in Peshawar December 2, 2011.

Premier’s Actions in Iraq Raise U.S. Concerns - Jack Healy, Tim Arango and Michael S. Schmidt, New York Times: Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has moved swiftly to consolidate power in advance of the American military withdrawal, offering a glimpse of how Iraq’s post-American identity may take shape, by rounding up hundreds of former Baath Party members and evicting Western companies from the heavily fortified Green Zone.

President Obama’s too-rosy vision of postwar Iraq - Editorial Board, Washington Post: Mr. Obama’s virtually unqualified support for Mr. Maliki consequently was unsettling. The president said that the U.S. “goal is simply to make sure that Iraq succeeds, because we think a successful, democratic Iraq can be a model for the entire region.” That is true. But success will require continued and concerted U.S. engagement, not rosy declarations about a mission accomplished.

Ex-Iran Guard commander visits White House with Iraq leader - Ashish Kumar Sen, The Washington Times: A former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the FBI

says played a role in a 1996 terrorist attack that killed 19 U.S. servicemen, accompanied Iraq’s prime minister to the White House on Monday, attending an event at which President Obama trumpeted the end of the Iraq War. Hadi Farhan al-Amiri, transportation minister in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, was part of the delegation that visited the White House to discuss Iraq’s future and Iran’s influence there, among other topics. Hadi Farhan al-Amiri image from article

The President and the Generals - Richard A. Clarke, New York Times: Barack Obama, fortunately, has returned to the tradition of earlier presidents; he not only fired his commander in Afghanistan, he also overrode the military leadership’s recommendation about how to attack bin Laden’s compound. Kennedy likewise made operational decisions, telling his admirals where and how to intercept Soviet ships bound for Cuba. In countries like Pakistan the president cannot tell the military what to do. Not so in America. But by offering to cede automatically to the will of military commanders, some presidential candidates are telling voters in advance that there is an important part of the president’s job that they are unwilling to perform.

Making Repression Our Business: The Pentagon’s Secret Training Missions in the Middle East
- By Nick Turse, TomDispatch: As the Arab Spring blossomed and President Obama hesitated about whether to speak out in favor of protesters seeking democratic change in the Greater Middle East, the Pentagon acted decisively. It forged ever deeper ties with some of the most repressive regimes in the region, building up military bases and brokering weapons sales and transfers to despots from Bahrain to Yemen.

As state security forces across the region cracked down on democratic dissent, the Pentagon also repeatedly dispatched American troops on training missions to allied militaries there. During more than 40 such operations with names like Eager Lion and Friendship Two that sometimes lasted for weeks or months at a time, they taught Middle Eastern security forces the finer points of counterinsurgency, small unit tactics, intelligence gathering, and information operations -- skills crucial to defeating popular uprisings. Image from, with description: Unlikely musical farce parodies spy movies and Elvis Presley films. Young American rock star Nick Rivers goes to Europe on goodwill tour and becomes involved with Nazis, the French Resistance, an American refugee, and more. Sophisticated it isn't. From the creators of "Airplane!"

Book Review of The Valley’s Edge: A Year with the Pashtuns in the Heartland of the Taliban - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Weighed down by bureaucracy, limited thinking, sloppy staffing and inter-agency fussing, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan are safe, stable places despite our spending $63 billion and $70 billion on PRT [Provincial Reconstruction Teams] efforts, respectively.

Guantánamo Forever? - Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, New York Times:cIn his inaugural address, President Obama called on us to “reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” We agree. Now, to protect both, he must veto the National Defense Authorization Act that Congress is expected to pass this week. This budget bill — which can be vetoed without cutting financing for our troops — is both misguided and unnecessary: the president already has the power and flexibility to effectively fight terrorism.

One provision would authorize the military to indefinitely detain without charge people suspected of involvement with terrorism, including United States citizens apprehended on American soil. A second provision would mandate military custody for most terrorism suspects. A third provision would further extend a ban on transfers from Guantánamo, ensuring that this morally and financially expensive symbol of detainee abuse will remain open well into the future. Image from

Russian Children Were Forced To Take A Propaganda-Laden Exam On The Day Of Anti-Government Protests - businessinsider.com: On the day where Russia's capital saw monumental anti-government rallies, Moscow high-school children were required to sit a language test with some answers that raised a few eyebrows. The Moscow Times reports that officials announced on Friday that the students had to take the test on Saturday, the day of anti-government rallies in Moscow following last week's parliamentary elections.

However, some of the examples on the hastily planned language test have raised suspicion. According to Newsru.com some of the examples on the test read "I had no doubt that United Russia would win," and "By following the law-- we serve the nation." Students were not allowed to leave the test procedures until the evening, after the rallies had taken place, prompting some teachers to state that the only purpose of the tests was to keep students from participating in the protests. Image from article

Ebenezer Kim says bah, humbug, commence fire [propaganda battles between North and South Korea] - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Protest Or Sacrifice? China's Anti-Imperialist Propaganda Backfires In Tibet - Rebecca Novick, Huffington Post: Says Dr. Robert Barnett, a professor of Modern Tibetan Studies at Columbia University, "One of the major sources in Tibetan culture today for the practice of self-immolation, especially for those in their 20s or 30s, is not embedded deep in Buddhist history but is apparent in Chinese propaganda. The most famous and influential of all modern films made by the Chinese government to propagate their claim to Tibet was Red River Valley, (Ch. Hóng hégŭ). This 1997 film was little seen outside the mainland, and depicts Tibetans bravely struggling against the British invasion around the turn of the century. Towards the end of

Red River Valley, the Tibetan hero wins the battle for the Tibetans by setting himself on fire while taking out the British battalion. Barnett says that all Tibetans of school age were made to go and watch Red River Valley as part of the patriotic education campaign across China at the time. "I'm not saying that this film is related to the current events, but we can say that in contemporary Communist culture there is a glorification of these kinds of acts. In Chinese films it's done for the state or for Communism, but in Tibet it's applying it in a particular Tibetan Buddhist context where it has much greater meaning because of the history of Buddhist admiration of the renunciation of oneself for a greater good." The irony of the Chinese state becoming the target of its own anti-imperialist propaganda will be lost on most. Image from

Bale says his Chinese film not propaganda - Jonathan Landreth, smh.com.au: Oscar-winning actor Christian Bale defended the upcoming Nanjing Massacre film The Flowers of War, by China's most famous director, Zhang Yimou, as more than an anti-Japanese propaganda film. In the film, Bale plays an American drifter

who becomes the unwitting protector of a group of Chinese schoolgirls and prostitutes trying to escape the Japanese army's brutal sacking of China's wartime capital. Bale image from article.

Kinsley: Middle East states of mind: Are the Palestinians an invented people? Sure, but so are the Israelis - Michael Kinsley, latimes.com: Gingrich said that Palestine had to be invented, and this is true. It is also true of Israel, which didn't even have a name as it declared its independence in May 1947. President Truman's typewritten message recognizing the new state has "Jewish state" crossed out and "State of Israel" scrawled in with what looks like pencil. Modern Jewish nationalism only goes back to 1896, when Theodor Herzl published his book, "Der Judenstaat" ("The Jewish State"), which put the question back in the public debate for the first time in centuries. From 1896 to 1948 is 52 years. That's how long it took for the Jewish state to go from an idea to a reality. Even if Palestinian nationalism started as late as 1967, 52 years later would be 2019. Eight years from now. It probably won't take that long.

Newt Gingrich slammed for peddling 'Israeli propaganda' - Leading Palestinian officials have rounded on the US's Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for his description of Palestinians as an "invented" people and "terrorists", saying the GOP frontrunner's claim that children are taught to kill in textbooks is based

on Israeli propaganda. The Republican frontrunner insisted at a candidate debate on Saturday -- to warm applause from the audience -- that "these people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, if there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left? We pay for those textbooks through our aid money." Gingrich image from article

Israel, Isaac and the Return of Human Sacrifice: Why have liberal Westerners turned their backs on the Jewish state? - David Mamet, Wall Street Journal: Some Jews say that the Arabs have a better public relations apparatus. They do not need one. For the Liberal West does not need convincing. It is thrilled merely to accept an excuse to rescind what it regards as a colossal error. As Realpolitik, the Liberal West's anti-Semitism can be understood as like Chamberlain's offering of Czechoslovakia to Hitler, a sop thrown to terrorism. On the level of conscience, it is a renewal of the debate on human sacrifice.

Palestinian Authority: Pursuing Peace, or Pushing Propaganda?‎ - Harry Evans, Daily Beast: Leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA), including its chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, and prime minister, Salam Fayyad, stand accused of systematically deceiving the international community by portraying themselves in English as pursuing peace while in their Arabic-language media they relentlessly propagate hate speech and venerate terror. Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel and Robert Bernstein, founder of Advancing Human Rights and chairman emeritus of Human Rights Watch, endorsed the charge when they spoke in New York on the release of a 269-page book and CD entitled Deception, published by the research institute Palestinian Media Watch.

Its Israeli authors, Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, document hundreds of examples in print, websites, videos, and school texts that they say are not exceptional but wholly representative of the way the PLO has systematically betrayed promises made to President Obama and the peace-seeking Quartet (the United Nations, the U.S., European Union, and Russia) to commit to nonviolence, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and end incitements of hatred. Image from article, with caption: Palestinian Authority president and head of the Fatah movement Mahmud Abbas at a Fatah "Revolutionary Council" meeting in the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah along with top officials on October 26, 2011

Research methodology 101 - Josh Rosenau, scienceblogs.com: Shorter Jerry Coyne: Whence moderate Islam?: You'd think MEMRI's archives would be a great place to find the “moderate” form of Islam in the Middle East, but all I get from the right-wing propaganda shop dedicated to putting "emphasis on the continuing relevance of Zionism to the Jewish people and to the state of Israel" are stories about how Muslims hate Jews and Israel.

Captured Drone May Have Limited Benefit For Iran - Scott Neuman, NPR: Iranian officials have crowed they are mining "priceless technological information" from a CIA spy drone that went down days ago inside Iran's borders, broadcasting triumphant images of what they said was the craft on state TV. But many experts say the loss of the RQ-170 Sentinel drone — like the U-2 spy plane shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 — may have more value as propaganda than as a treasure trove of technological secrets.

US, Iran and the media - Jan Kofas, nl-aid.org: The US media adopts the position that Iran’s nuclear program is ‘polarizing’, neglecting to point out that is the position of the US and its close allies, not a position that the rest of the world shares. In short, the US media, as Edward Hermann and many other critics have repeatedly pointed out, is reflecting

the official US government position on Iran. Yet, it presents its position as ‘objective journalism’, instead of disinformation or propaganda. While it is understandable that the large media outlets use varieties of government agencies, from CIA to Justice Department, to make sure that they have their facts and interpretation right, what is blurry is the degree to which the story is news as it occurred or news manufactured to serve a policy objective. Kofas image from article

Iranian filmmaker, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, released on bail, as Iranian authorities crackdown on filmmakers - english.ahram.org.eg: Having spent three months in Evin Prison, Iranian filmmaker Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, was released on bail amounting to $200,000, ISNA reports. He is charged with collaborating with the Persian BBC and "propaganda against the system." Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, co-director of banned Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's latest film, was among six movie makers arrested by Iranian authorities. Iranian media on September 17 reported the arrest of six filmmakers, but identified them only by their initials.

Turkish parliament speaker’s statements show lack of integrity – Armenian Deputy Parliament Speaker - news.am: Turkish parliament speaker Cemil Cicek

is like a student who has learned his lesson by heart but has understood nothing, and he repeated the Azerbaijani propaganda’s legends concerning refugees and occupied territories, Armenian National Assembly Deputy Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov said, commenting on the Turkish parliament speaker’s recent statement. Uncaptioned image from article

In defense of 'All-American Muslim' - Souheila Al-Jadda, USA Today: All-American Muslim is a new reality TV show featuring five Muslim-American families living in Dearborn, Mich. — a city with the highest concentration of Arab Americans in the U.S. The show airs on The Learning Channel (TLC) and has sparked controversy, to put it mildly. A number of critics and activists are unfairly attacking the program, claiming the show is Muslim propaganda that hides the extremist agenda. Some are even pressuring companies, in addition to Lowe's, to pull their advertising to force the show off the air. These attacks are not only short on substance but also wrong on principle and bad for America. They undermine ever-evolving American values of pluralism and tolerance.

Reality TV catches up to reality with Muslim show - Paul Farhi, Washington Post: Among the themes of “All-American Muslim,” a cable reality show about the daily lives of five families in Dearborn, Mich., is the suspicion and bias that ordinary Muslims face in a nation uneasy about all things Islamic after Sept. 11, 2001. As it happens, reality has caught up to reality TV.Peppered by a conservative group’s complaints about the program, the Lowe’s home-improvement chain last week pulled its sponsorship — and has been fielding countercomplaints that the company had caved in to the very prejudices faced by the program’s protagonists.

Lowe's Faces Backlash After Pulling Commercials from TLC's All-American Muslim - Joyce Eng, TV Guide.

Image from article

All American Propaganda, advertiser spending and other things that make my eyes roll… - patheos.com: Propaganda, which All-American Muslim’ really is. Propaganda and a bid for high viewer ratings.

Zimbabwe: Americans Bloated With Propaganda - Farica Chubvu, allafrica.com: When Americans think of propagandised people, they think of the now defunct Soviet Union or Nazi Germany or perhaps a banana republic dictatorship of the sort supported by their governments. Very few of them would think of themselves as being under the sway of a government and corporations who work hand-in-glove to tell outright falsehoods or hide important information that is inconvenient for them.Americans are victims of a government intent on keeping them misinformed or silent in the face of its wrongdoing worldwide, but they work hand-in-hand with a media almost entirely owned by corporations.

Tintin in the Land of the Soviets (The Adventures of Tintin: Original Classic) - The classic graphic novel. The first of Tintin’s black-and-white adventures. Sent on assignment to the Soviet Union, Tintin boards a train. . . but after an explosion, Tintin is blamed for the bombing, and he must make his way to the Soviet Union by stealth. Once there, he uncovers some shocking Bolshevik secrets. [Review by Darragh O'Donoghue:] Tintin is sent by his Brussels newspaper to expose the true conditions of life in Bolshevik Russia, and counter the propaganda spread by Soviets and their Western fellow-travellers. Together with his faithful fox terrier Snowy, Tintin finds famine, child hunger, bureaucratic incompetence, industrial failure, bogus propaganda, state terror, gunpoint elections and massive embezzlement of the people’s wealth by the government. Naturally, the Soviets aren’t terribly keen for such information to leak out, and attempt to dispatch our hero at every turn – trying to bomb, shoot at, torture and freeze him in the endless snowy Steppes. ‘Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets’ is the first Tintin adventure, written in 1929 for a Catholic newspaper edited by a priest who would become a Nazi collaborator.

The book’s propaganda is crude – as the translators point out, Herge never visited Russia, and based his ‘facts’ on a contemporary, reactionary book by a Belgian consul – and leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It’s not that what he shows wasn’t accurate – his Soviet Russia is a totalitarian nightmare, swarming with vicious secret police; a place where citizens had their property stolen and labour abused; where starvation, torture and murder was rife; where more state effort went into destruction than construction. The book is filled with booze-sozzled goons are frightening precisely because they have a power they don’t deserve. A lingering superstitiousness undermines this brave new world, and the images are full of delapidation and things crashing and falling apart – nothing can possibly work in such an environment. The ‘Wizard of Oz’-like scene where a guide shows gullible English communists industrial marvels that are really two men billowing smoke and rattling sheet metal, is horribly accurate. This comic look at misery and tyranny looks forward to the Czech films of the 60s. Nonetheless, the book never becomes satire, never moves beyond popular prejudices – the critique in ‘Tintin In America’ is far more effective because Herge displays a more thorough knowledge of and engagement with US history and culture. Image from entry.

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