Friday, December 2, 2011

December 2

"These guys are supposed to be American? My ass!"

--Boris Vian (1920-1959), author under the nom de plume of Vernon Sullivan of the book "J'irai cracher sur vos tombes ("I Shall Spit on Your Graves"), reacting to the film version of his work, "an homage to his beloved America that he never visited, and a violent attack to racism by a jazz fan and performer"; at the screening of the film, he collapsed into his seat and died from sudden cardiac death en route to the hospital; video: The last thing Boris Vian saw before he died. Vian was also the writer of the first French rock and roll songs. Vian image from


Witness: What not to wear in Myanmar: Clinton's Burma road - Andrew Quinn, "It wasn't exactly Nixon in China, but Hillary Clinton's visit to Myanmar this week had that slight touch of the surreal that sometimes marks the beginning of unexpected diplomatic change. First, it had to be color coordinated. Officials traveling with Clinton are always given instructions by the State Department on accompanying the secretary of state, but this time they came with an added set of suggestions on what not to wear for the first high-level U.S. mission to Myanmar in more than 50 years. Blacks, whites and pinks were out . ... The mysterious list of ins-and-outs for Myanmar fashion was never fully explained, although an official later said it appeared to be an effort to avoid the traditional colors of mourning, or those associated with Buddhist monks, who have protested against the government. Clinton, bounding off the plane in Myanmar's tiny capital airport, went for a pink blazer anyway. And the Myanmar officials meeting her - the first U.S. secretary of state to set foot in the country formerly known as Burma in more than 50 years - showed up in white, a sign of how sketchy the U.S. intelligence is about a nation long known as one of the most reclusive and repressive in Southeast Asia. ... Clinton - with security and journalists in tow - went barefoot at the famous Shwedagon Pagoda and rang a bell with a giant wooden mallet as onlookers cheered. It was the type of public diplomacy that is Clinton's forte as a former politician, although many of those snapping her photo were tourists and she had little direct contact with local Burmese.

She did connect with the one person she had long aimed to meet: Aung San Suu Kyi. Over the course of two days, the pair met and appeared to form a fast friendship, one that could be important as Washington seeks to deepen its understanding of Myanmar and the future of democratic reform."  Image from article, with caption: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) looks at Myanmar's pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as she speaks to the media at Suu Kyi's residence in Yangon December 2, 2011.

Both Myanmar and the US should change‎ - P.L.E Priatna, Jakarta Post: "The new US engagement policy in the Southeast Asia region must calculate a policy of fairness. Fairness is the new spirit and supported foundation to win the hearts and minds of the Southeast Asian people. Fair treatment, as against 'double standards', is social capital for the US to utilize in its role in the region. A superior approach, as expressed through 'acting like a colonial master' to dictate its will on others will be no longer be helpful and sounds obsolete. The US needs a smart, new foreign policy formula. It has to build smart public diplomacy to help accelerate public support in the region. The US should be highly sensitive to the development of a wider East Asian community, and its policy should not only deal with governments but the people in the region. ... Lift the sanctions on Myanmar without delay. Retaining this policy will not only undermine the US credibility among ASEAN members, but people in the region as well."

Remembering Kristallnacht: The Importance of Today - Remarks at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois Hannah Rosenthal, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, November 10, 2011: "[T]here is an increasing tendency of blurring the lines between opposition to the policies of the State of Israel and anti-Semitism.

I want to be clear – criticism of policies of the State of Israel is not anti-Semitism. But it crosses the line when Israel is demonized and blamed for all the region’s ills; or when it is held to different standards than any other country; or when Israel is delegitimized, denying its right to exist. We at the State Department work to fight anti-Semitism through diplomacy between countries; through public diplomacy, when we talk directly to the public; or through programming and supporting organizations and people who fight hatred and oppression – and promote tolerance." Rosenthal image from article

State’s Lynne Weil to head Broadcasting Board of Governors large PR department - BBGWatcher, BBG Watch: "It’s a great job if you can get it, said one BBG Watch source. ... One source told BBG Watch that perhaps with the experience she required working in Congress and at the State Department, Lynne Weil can have some positive impact on the BBG executive staffers who — in addition to being voted by BBG employees as being among the worst managers in the federal government — also lack political sense and appreciation of U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy needs abroad."

US not invited as Hugo Chávez launches Latin group - Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro and Virginia Lopez in Caracas, "Heads of state from across Latin America and the Caribbean flew in to Caracas on Friday for the inaugural meeting of a group designed to counter US influence and improve regional ties. But the US and Canada, have been sidelined from what the host, Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez, has called 'the most important political event in our America in 100 years or more'. Chávez, who is gearing up for presidential elections next year, has grand designs for the Community

of Latin American and Caribbean States, or Celac. ... Analysts said the summit represented a further sign of dwindling US influence in the region. Pamela Starr, a professor of public diplomacy from the University of Southern California, said it reflected a long-standing Latin America desire to develop an association of nations including Cuba but without the US. "[I]t is only in recent years, with persistent economic crisis in the north coupled with robust economic growth in most of Latin America, that the region has developed the confidence to go it alone,' she said."  Image from article, with caption: A Venezuelan presidential guard stands outside the Teresa Carreno Theater before the Celac summit.

Rhetoric as Soft Power: Turkey and the Arab Spring - "In the Middle East the U.S. has generally employed hard power to support its foreign policy. Military intervention in Iraq, now Libya, and nearby Afghanistan have been the most visible examples. ... This use of hard power has cost the U.S. greatly in terms of public diplomacy. While President Obama came to office promising a shift in relations—from negotiations with Iran to his visit to Turkey and his famed ‘Cairo speech’—he has since fallen into the same pattern of U.S. foreign relations. Obama has increased sanctions on Iran and Syria as well as engaged militarily with Libya and Pakistan. ... Turkey has been advocating 'an idealist vision of regional order, while generally not resorting to the hard power carrots and sticks favored by the U.S. While Turkey certainly could not have predicted the Arab Spring, it has been invested [sic] in populist movements before Tunisians hit the streets. ... While

the U.S. and much of the rest of the world was focused on the autocratic leaders of the region, Turkey was able to also focus on an increasingly empowered group—the people themselves. Regarding the Arab Spring Kalin [Ibrahim Kalin, a policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan] argues that because of this, 'Turkey will be strengthened, not weakened, by a more democratic and prosperous Arab world.' Furthering Turkey’s public diplomacy rhetoric, in June Ersat Hurmuzlu, an adviser to Turkish President Gül, said, 'Turkey is with the people, not the regimes.' However, many feel that while Turkey has engaged in public diplomacy rhetoric, its real foreign policy actions and concerns are no different. To them, there is an undeniable gap between Turkish rhetoric and the reality of regional politics. Nowhere is such a gap more apparent than in Turkish reactions to the protests in Libya and neighboring Syria. ... In order to continue to capitalize on the revolutions taking place in the Middle East, Turkey must continue its public diplomacy strategy of talking to the future power holders in that region: the people."  Image from

NATO on the 60th Anniversary of Turkish Membership - Selcuk Colakoglu: "The Public Diplomacy Division of NATO held a consultative meeting for Turkish academics who were members of Turkish Council of International Relations on November 22nd, 2011 at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels. The meeting’s aim was partly to brief them on strategy for the Chicago Summit to be held in May 2012 and partly to exchange ideas with them about NATO publicity activities, which will be held in Turkey next year to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Turkish membership. ... NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division is planning a series of activities in 2012 aimed at boosting public interest and support in both countries. The U.S. has been chosen as a target country after it was discovered that the level of awareness of NATO in American public opinion was rather low, and also because of the May 2012 Chicago Summit. So the aim is to boost the interest of American public opinion in the run up to the summit. ... Turkish public opinion believes that NATO has not stood by Turkey over PKK terrorism. So NATO plans to organize public diplomacy activities in 2012 both to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Turkey becoming a member and to try and increase support for NATO in Turkish public opinion. Despite the Turkish public’s negative perception of it, NATO counts as the international organization where Turkey finds it easiest to explain itself and in which it has the most influence."

Ron Prosor talks about Jewish Refugees from Arab countries at UN‎ - Jerusalem Post: "At last, the audience of predominately hostile nations at the UN heard Israel’s envoy, Ron Prosor, make a resounding comparison between Jewish and Arab refugees. He boldly confronted the Arab countries about the Jews who were forced to flee their lands but were successfully resettled in Israel, while they refused to absorb their own Palestinian refugees. ... For too long, Israel’s public diplomacy has pussy-footed around the question of Jewish refugees. Ron Prosor’s explicit mention of Jewish refugees from Arab countries represents a more pro-active approach by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon in particular has been pushing the Jewish refugees issue. Edwin Shuker of Harif recalls the unstinting support offered by Ambassador Prosor when he was in the UK to Harif's various campaigns to educate the public and to ensure the subject takes it's [sic] proper place in peace negotiations between Israel and Arab countries." Prosor image from

Mehdi Hasan vists Al Jazeera - "In 'Voice of the Arab spring', Mehdi Hasan travels to Doha, Qatar, to visit the headquarters of Al Jazeera, the TV and internet news network owned by an absolute monarch yet hailed as an independent voice in the Middle East. Hasan asks the managing director of Al Jazeera English and former ITN journalist Al Anstey how often he is rung up by members of the ruling family: 'Never.' Anstey doesn't budge: 'We are not a mouthpiece [for Qatar]; we are not a tool of public diplomacy. We have come here as journalists to carry out the profession of journalism.'"

Press TV is mere propaganda for Iran. It must close - "This is an article by Houriya Ahmed which first appeared in The Times. ... Closing down the Iranian Embassy in London is not forceful enough. After the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran by a mob of petrol-bomb-hurling hardliners, the British Government was right to move beyond impotent expressions of 'outrage' and demand that Iran’s embassy staff leave the UK within 48 hours.But Britain can do more in the face of what looks like officially orchestrated violence. There is an arm – albeit unofficial – of the Islamic republic at work here

that could be punished to show British disapproval: Press TV’s London operation should be shut down. ... Although Press TV is an instrument of propaganda, the Foreign Office has been apprehensive about closing it down for fear that it would be challenged under free speech laws. The siege of the embassy and the expulsion of the British Ambassador demonstrate that Iran intends to heat up its public diplomacy war. Free speech laws should not extend to hosting the propaganda service of a belligerent government. As long as Press TV is funded by the current Iranian regime, the closure of its London operation is a necessity." Image from

Magazine on diplomatic corps - "The first magazine in the UAE dedicated to covering events and activities of the diplomatic community will be launched in Abu Dhabi on December 5 at a ceremony which will be attended by ambassadors, consuls-general, government officials as well as distinguished members of the community in UAE. The International Diplomat, aims to promote goodwill and friendship among people and their countries. The magazine’s publisher, Javed Malik, who is himself a former diplomat, said, 'Diplomacy has many facets and dimensions, in addition to its official form, and The International Diplomat aims to provide a platform that enables positive relations between people and their countries to flourish, and to promote goodwill and friendship through various initiatives such as trade diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy and people-to-people contacts.'”

Japan PM upbeat on bilateral relations‎ - Zhang Yunbi, China Daily: "Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said on Thursday that he will have a comprehensive discussion on China-Japan relations with top Chinese officials when he visits Beijing this month. China's development offers opportunities for Japan, Noda said during his meeting with Zhao Qizheng, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, in Tokyo on Thursday, according to Japan's Foreign Ministry. ... Exchanges between governments as well as bilateral public diplomacy in various fields will be promoted in the future, said Zhao, who led the Chinese delegation to the Fifth Symposium of China-Japan Relations, held in Tokyo on Wednesday.

A 3,000-strong youth delegation from Japan visited China in September 1984, a visit that turned out to be a milestone in the history of China-Japan public diplomacy. Noda recalled his experience as a member of the delegation, which included many other members of the current generation of Japan's powerful political players." Image from

India Blog Series: Back to Basics: Public Diplomacy and Indian Heritage - Jerry Edling, CPD Blog, US center on Public diplomacy: "Former BBC Producer and Knight International Journalism Fellow, Shrubhranshu Shuddery, works in a region of India where most people are poor and illiterate and the language is Gondi. Per Simon, Choudary has gotten around the ban on radio news by working with Microsoft and MIT to develop a system that allows tribal villagers to call a phone number on their mobile phones and record a message with news on it. Once the information is verified, it is disseminated by mobile phone, SMS message and a website, CGNet. A similar venture could be launched in India involving journalism students."

Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi’s National Day message of confidence in the destiny of Romania
- "Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi conveys to all Romanians a message of national unity and confidence in the destiny of Romania, on the occasion of the celebration of the National Day by all Romanian missions abroad. ... 'The celebration of 93 years since the Great Union will be marked this year again by several public diplomacy actions

staged by Romania’s diplomatic missions abroad. Many missions will organize art and photography exhibitions, recitals and classical music concerts, jazz concerts, theatrical performances, folk dance shows, meetings with the Romanian communities abroad, with Romanians students in the host countries, festive meetings with local business people, lectures in the academic environment, Romanian film festivals and screenings, Romanian carols concerts, wine tasting events, Romanian-themed soirees, participation in TV programs on Romania. ... A presentation of the events organized by diplomatic missions and a photo gallery will be available on the MFA website, in the section of Public Diplomacy/Cultural Events (" Baconschi image from

VN-Romania trade fails to reach potential‎: Viet Nam News spoke to Ambassador of Romania Dumitru Olaru on the occasion of his country's National Day today - Viet Nam News: "[Q:] Which special activities are scheduled for this year to mark your country's National Day? [A:] Every year on December 1, we celebrate the National Day of Romania. It is a very important day because it symbolises the Romanian Unitary State. On this occasion our Embassy holds cultural and public diplomacy events. Among them is one in HCM City, specifically at the Viet Nam War Remnants Museum.

It is the archival photo exhibition entitled 'Viet Nam – Romania Friendship Relations' which presents 120 photos that reflect the last six decades of history between the two countries since diplomatic relations were established in February 1950. At the same time, a book entitled 'Summary of the Romanian Literature' has been published and will be launched tomorrow in Ha Noi. Recently, in November, the Viet Nam – Romania Friendship Association, which celebrates its 20th anniversary on the same day, helped us organise a friendship meeting that was widely attended. On this occasion the importance of the National Day of Romania was solemnly evoked." Olaru image from article

"Public Diplomacy" is a strip club where propagandists give lap dances to their imperialist sugar daddies - "In the article 'A 21st Century Model for Communication in the Global War of Ideas' the authors are fond of tossing around the terms 'strategic communication' and 'public diplomacy.' I find these terms

offensive. ... Back in the day propaganda was called 'propaganda.' The Department of 'Defense' was more accurately named the War Department. 'Biosolids' were known as toxic sludge. 'Extraordinary rendition' was known as torture. You get the point. ... Now that a 'War of Ideas' has been launched, we can sit back and watch as the free discussion of ideas atrophies and withers away. If ideas are really 'bulletproof' as the tag line from 'V for Vendetta' says, then we need to take a few pot shots at our own ideas of American exceptionalism and see if they stand up to the test or not." Image from

Defining PR - Ted the Cat "The PR business these days seems to span everybody from press agents, strategic communicators, political consultants, and Web marketers to public affairs professionals, corporate relations types, and assorted self-appointed hustlers. ... I spent a lot of years practicing what’s called 'public diplomacy' in the service of the good old USA. PD in my view is a first cousin of public relations and equally in need of a 21st century definition."


The American century: That was then - The next time you hear a politician insist that America is exceptional, think of it as a secret confession that we aren't - Tom Engelhardt, The next time you hear any politician insisting that this country is American century-style exceptional, think of it as a kind of secret confession that we aren't. These days, you can feel the uncomfortably defensive snarl

(or whine) that lurks in the insistence that our country isn't just another powerful nation in political gridlock and economic trouble. the greatest mistake of our era was undoubtedly this: When the Soviet Union suddenly disappeared in 1991, our leaders imagined that they had achieved a kind of American victory never before seen. Where, for centuries, there had been two or more great-power rivals, there was now only the sole superpower (or even hyperpower) of planet Earth, with no significant threat anywhere. To some, it looked as if this were, by definition, a second post-WW II moment of American exceptionalism. Mistaking military might for global power, they didn't notice that the mightier superpower of the Cold War was also heading slowly downhill in a cloud of self-congratulation. Image from article, with caption: Tea party activists attend Glenn Beck's 2010 rally in Washington. President Obama and his would-be GOP presidential opponents have touted American exceptionalism in recent speeches.

Cyberwar explodes in Syria - Ivan Watson, CNN: Psiphon is a surveillance-busting networking system designed by a Canadian company with funding from the U.S. State Department. The company's CEO told CNN the software had been 'aggressively' introduced to Syria just three weeks ago. Since then, thousands of people had begun using it. 'What we're doing is not much different to what the airwaves provided during the Cold War to provide those citizens living behind the Iron Curtain with an ability to get information which otherwise they were not getting from their state,' said Rafal Rohozinski, CEO of two companies involved in developing Psiphon. 'Whereas shortwave radio during the Cold War was very unidirectional ... with the Internet these technologies are by definition bidirectional, meaning that it gives an opportunity for citizens within these states to also communicate amongst themselves and with the outside world.' For the past eight months, Syria has been locked in a bloody cycle of anti-regime protests and violent crackdown. ... While a growing number of Western and Arab governments have denounced the Syrian regime's pattern of human rights abuses and held meetings with Syrian dissidents, so far none has admitted to supplying communication devices directly to the opposition. However, the U.S. government has publicly declared it supports freedom of access to the Internet globally. Washington has also supported the development of encryption technologies for use in authoritarian countries, including Psiphon, which is now being used in Syria. Psiphon creator Rohozinski said he and his company had been in direct contact with Syrian opposition activists to deliver the networking system." Via

When the Symbol is the Message – Clinton, Obama and the South China Sea - Patricia H. Kushlis, Whirled View: The US defense presence this time around was solicited by the Southeast Asians and the Australians to help the region counter-balance an increasingly powerful China.

In South Korea, Old Law Leads To New Crackdown - Luisa Lim, NPR: Image from article, with caption:

Park Jong-kun's Twitter profile picture — which shows him against a backdrop of the North Korean flag — may violate South Korea's strict National Security Law. The 24-year-old South Korean is also under investigation for retweeting North Korean propaganda.

Propaganda in an academic guise‎ - Canadian Jewish News: Recently, the Olive Oil Project that I initiated four years ago was launched with a wildly successful gala reception for 500 people at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. It was hosted by the consuls general of Israel, Greece, Italy and France. The evening was capped by a wonderful tasting, where we all basked in the glow of friendship and fraternity that the evening had brought about. It was a moment to be treasured. The next day consisted of a scholarly conference organized and hosted at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto by its principal, Prof. Domenico Pietropaolo. The papers presented covered a broad range of topics. But amid all of these fascinating, but mostly esoteric, talks there was a hidden time bomb. It was called “A Comparison of the Olive Oil Industries in Tuscany and Palestine.” The word Palestine should have been a warning. The talk itself turned out to be nothing more than pro-Palestinian propaganda masking itself in an academic guise. The conference brought home the fact that even in the spirit of co-operation that it was designed to foster, one has to be ever mindful of the sinister and devious evolution of both antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

Veena Malik Nude Photo Scandal And Anti Pakistani ISI Propaganda in Indian Media for FHM Magazine -

Image from entry (entry has no text)

Lord Haw Haw, Axis Sally, and more radio history in the news - Kim Andrew Elliot reporting on International Broadcasting


"[W]e are living in the midst of a 'Global War of Euphemisms,' rather than ideas."

--Peace of Mind blog; image from

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