Thursday, December 29, 2011

December 29

"They said, Make it work short. Use verbs. Keep irony out unless you know what irony is. Say what must be said, only. ... There is voluntary and involuntary reading. The involuntary -- the reports and news dispatches -- must indeed be verbal (of verbs.) As for the rest, if it were not made of dependencies and did not reside in ambiguity; and if it did not secrete negation to gather and align evasive phrases thought without name; and if it did not enter mind states which only in complicity with the sweat of language cold be pinned like butterflies on a felt field; then why would be be called 'voluntary''"?

--Diplomat and American University (Washington, D.C.) penseur-professor Dr. Daniel Whitman, in his book "Crank: In Favor of the Outnumbered" (Xlibris, 2006), p. 9; image from


Israel's Critical Security Needs for a Viable Peace, cited in Eric USA blog, in which Lirut states: "Here is one you tube video, it is mainly factual probably for public diplomacy, but that was all I found on YouTube."


USCIRF Letter to Secretary Clinton on North Korea - "The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) sent the following letter on December 27, 2011: "The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State U.S. Department of State Washington, DC 20520 Dear Madam Secretary: Pursuant to its advisory responsibilities under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom respectfully urges you to ensure that U.S. diplomacy regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) advances an agenda that gives a prominent place to the protection of human rights, including the freedom of religion and belief, as well as the provision of humanitarian assistance and the protection of North Korean refugees. ... [T]he Commission has urged that public diplomacy resources should target technologies that can be accessed by the North Korean people. Though North Korea remains one of the most closed societies in the world, at this time, we believe it is urgent to articulate publicly the message that the United States and the international community will work on behalf of the North Korean people’s desire for security, peace, and freedom. ... Sincerely, Leonard Leo Chair ... USCIRF

is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF’s principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress." Image from article

US PD Advisory Commission is no more - Steven R. Corman, "In an apparent budget cutting move, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy was cut from the recently passed budget, and has ceased to exist. The move eliminates an organization over 60 years old. The Commission was established under the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 as the U.S. Advisory Commission on Information.

It was merged with an educational exchange commission in 1977 to produce the current name and configuration. According to its website, the Commission had only one permanent staffer (its Executive Director) and a budget of just $135,000. I can attest that the activities of the Commission were valuable. In a recent post I recounted some events from one of their meetings. That meeting also led to a connection between our group and a group in Afghanistan working on narrative issues there. It doesn’t take too many such connections to justify a budget that basically amounts to a rounding error in the Federal balance sheet. The now-former Executive Director of the Commission is Matt Armstrong, whose mountainrunner blog went into hibernation while he had the gig. Matt is restarting the blog and I welcome him back to the PD/SC blogoshopere, though I wish it were under different circumstances."

This Spring Breeze Did Not Arise in the West - Emad Mekay, Interpress News Service: "Friday noon prayers where hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of people customarily gather every week, have been the most shared feature of the Arab Spring uprisings. The weekly congregations were in fact the main hub for bringing protesters out to the streets – not because of their spiritual value but because of their ability to gather people with no or little extra effort. Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and the internet in general may have helped with some of the initial rallying calls in the 85 million people nation of Egypt for the Jan. 25 protest. But it was Friday Jan. 28 that saw the birth of the real revolution in Egypt and the subsequent domino effect in other countries. Another tool I

saw used to keep the fervour going was the simple word of mouth over landline telephones from mostly panicky family members reporting to their loved ones how unfit Mubarak's brutal ways had become. You add to that mix the role played by the 24-hour pan-Arab TV news, especially from the Mubarak-bashing Aljazeera, BBC Arabic, Al-arabiya and even the U.S.-funded Al-Hurra, in spreading the word and you'll get a realistic sense of what a limited role social media outlets had on the ground." Via. See also John Brown, "Important article on the new social media and the Arab Spring," Notes and Essays. Mekay image  from

These comparisons of Al Jazeera, VOA, and BBC need some fact checking - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "Newsmax, 23 Dec 2011, Arnaud De Borchgrave: 'Al-Jazeera's global television network has long surpassed the Voice of America in the number of bureaus and correspondents it has deployed all over the world. Its English-language programs and newscasts have even overtaken the world's one-time leader BBC, shrunk by government cutbacks. ... Al-Jazeera's coverage of domestic Qatari affairs is limited but it never misses an opportunity to tweak the beak of fellow Arab leaders who crackdown on dissent.' [Elliott comment:] -- Better to measure the 'number of bureaus and correspondents' of all of the BBG entities, not just VOA. Al Jazeera probably still has the advantage. And by what measure has Al Jazeera English 'overtaken' the BBC? I'm sure that BBC World News still has a larger audience, and that CNN International (at no cost to US taxpayers) has the largest audience of the 'big three' global English news channels."

VOA Chinese, marking 70th anniversary, predates VOA - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from entry

Report: VOA content on FM in Bahrain will adhere to both BBG standards and local "sensitivities" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

"Palestinians don’t want to turn the wheels back" - Ekaterina Kudashkina, The Voice of Russia: Interview with Gershon Baskin, co-CEO of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information: "So, what needs to be done basically? What are the major conditions of resolution, of untying this knot?: I think that 2012 is probably going to be a year when Israel will go to elections, although it is not scheduled until 2013. 2012 will be a critical

year for the Palestinians in their political developments. Will they have new elections? Will there be unification between Fatah and Hamas? I don’t know. It seems that without an effective American president player on the ground, it will be very difficult to get the Israelis and Palestinians to a negotiating table, unless somehow they can figure out a way to do a secret backchannel. Public diplomacy won’t work without an American role, and the American President is now busy with his own election campaign which won’t be determined till November 2012. So, it looks like to a great extent 2012 will be lost year on the Israeli – Palestinian front." Image from article

Post-Imperium, 20 Years On: Yelena Osipova, "Russia Today ... [i]n an attempt at what it calls 'providing the Russian view to the world' or essentially 'public diplomacy', the network has been airing programming dedicated to the anniversary ['the end of the Sviet Union'] since early 2011. It has a special 'online exclusive' section on the subject, featuring various articles, commentary and background information. Perhaps most notably, it released a whole series of documentaries - '20 Years Post-Soviet' - on all former member states, which obviously intended to provide a more or less comprehensive analysis of the

events and developments in individual countries since 1991, from the Russian perspective. Cheesy, sometimes too oversimplified, and at times bordering propaganda, I would say this was a lame attempt. One just has to see the differences in the choice of subjects and themes covered in the episodes on Georgia, Latvia and, say, Armenia, and the difference in the way issues were framed... Of course, this is the official Russian view of these events; and yet, I doubt these series do much good to perceptions of Russia abroad, much less to improving these." Image from article

Twitter users vexed at Israel - "The list of Twitter’s hot trends is pretty much the same most of the time: Justin Bieber at the top of the tweet list, followed by some global event and Monday morning complaints. This Monday, however, a new topic emerged on cell phone screens of Twitter users – 'Israel hates'. A search for the israelhates# hashtag (a keyword or topic on the social network) yields thousands of results being updated by the minute. ... Israeli left-wing activists are also jumping on the bandwagon but prefer to address recent legislation in the Knesset.

'Israel hates Jews like me as well,' wrote one. Roaming through the social network on Monday raised speculations that someone declared a day of complaints against Israel and forgot to inform the Israeli government. Users fighting for Israel’s public diplomacy are not twiddling their thumbs. 'I love Israel. come visit us and you too will fall in love with it like I have,' wrote one such user. Others are trying to direct the spotlight at other topics . ... Noted Israeli comedian Guri Alfi playfully begged users, 'Don’t blame Israel for all the troubles in the world. Don’t forget Canada.'" Image from

The sad, sad world of Israel’s big-time liars - Stuart Littlewood, "Meet another of Israel’s undesirables, Yuli Edelstein. He is the regime’s Propaganda Minister (or to be more precise, Minister for Dis-information and Diaspora) and he runs the biggest lie machine in the world. His task is to make the Israel ‘brand’ smell sweeter. The reason it stinks, of course, is the regime’s putrid morals and murderous conduct, which the lie machine works overtime to try to justify and excuse. It will always fail. You cannot build a decent brand image on lies, obnoxious behaviour and a massive attitude problem. Edelstein hit the headlines over Christmas when he told everybody that the Arabs are 'a deplorable nation'. He was speaking at a public diplomacy event (incredible as it may seem!) at Yor Yehuda, which I’m told means 'light of Juda'."

South Korea - Next-Generation Leaders of the ROK and the Arab World Come Together - "1. A meeting of next-generation leaders of the Republic of Korea and the Arab world, co-hosted by the Foreign Ministry and the Korea-Arab Society (KAS), was successfully held on December 27, with some 150 people in attendance, including KAS Secretary-General Choi Seung-hoh, Ambassador for Public Diplomacy Ma Young-sam, Director-General for African and Middle Eastern Affairs Song Woong-yeob, Iraqi Ambassador Al-Mosawi and other

Arab diplomats stationed in the ROK, and representatives of Arab students in Korea as well as ROK students. 2. In the meeting, organized to build a human network and promote exchanges between next-generation leaders of the two regions, Ambassador Ma Young-sam explained public diplomacy to the college students from home and the Arab world, drawing keen interest from the participants." Image from article, with caption: The 4th Korea-Arab Friendship Caravan is an event hosted by KAS

Corruption and its discontents - Maya Babla, CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "If India is perceived as corrupt on international indices as well as amongst its own people, then her credibility is damaged, and her ability to conduct public diplomacy, diminished, if not demolished. And without that ability, India’s capacity to assert herself as a major global power is compromised. ... Corruption is a problem that has not gone unacknowledged by government leadership. ... [I]t seems India has positioned itself to actually export tools of anti-corruption. ... What’s also promising about these programs in terms of public diplomacy is that the Department of Information Technology is doing tremendous international knowledge-sharing."

KFOS and MOFA join resources for public diplomacy and capacity increase - "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo and Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (KFOS), a part of the global Soros foundation network, have signed a Memorandum of Collaboration on implementing a joint project in the area of public diplomacy and increasing capacities. This multi-year KFOS

project will now be also supported in the year 2012 and brings in many internationally and Kosovo renowned individuals, activities and institutions dealing with civil, cultural and public diplomacy." Image from

Iran Onscreen: Truth through the Prism - Dan Geist, "[C]omprehension suffers when every film, as the University of São Paulo's Ferdinando Martins put it, is 'seen as a portrait of Iran' and its fictional aspects disregarded. Speaking on a panel devoted to the topic of cinema's relationship to public policy and public diplomacy, he echoed -- or rather, by the real-world chronology of the conference, presaged -- [the] observation about dystopic aesthetics, finding that those Iranian films which gain distribution outside the Middle East tend 'to paint the devil worse than he is.' In the view of Javad Asgharirad of the Free University of Berlin, those movies as a corpus create an impression that Iranians suffer from a low standard of living, little freedom, and great social stratification (as well as, by way of partial counterbalance, enjoying strong family ties)."

Britain's Global Mission is Control Natural Resources - "Diplomacy in democracies is often 'public democracies' and selling war to bemused citizens and voters by promoting 'our values' as being better than those other Powers such as China vying for control over minerals and oil."

Operation: Eat Our Food - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I was interviewed today about gastrodiplomacy by DePers, a major Dutch newspaper. Specifically, about Indonesian gastrodiplomacy

to Holland. That is a fascinating case of the colony returning to influence the former colonial master. To be sure, Indonesia has had a major effect on Dutch cuisine (see under: peanut sauce for frittes). I am wondering if my op-ed in the Jakarta Globe had a little effect on the Indonesian decision to embark on gastrodiplomacy. ... Operation: Eat Our Food by Camile Driessen ... 'Thailand has started,' says 'gastronomist' Paul Rockower the phenomenon studied and regularly publishes on the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. The Thai government introduced in 2002, the Global Programme to the number of Thai restaurants abroad to raise considerably. The aim was to make Thai food more popular, attracting more tourists and subtle relationships with other countries to strengthen. 'The Thai campaign has so far been most successful, the kitchen has gone from exotic to mainstream and has given a boost tourism,' observes Rockower." Image from

PhD success for Mª Luisa Azpiroz Manero - "Congratulations to NCPU visiting student Mª Luisa Azpíroz Manero, who received her PhD just before Christmas for a thesis entitled, 'American Public Diplomacy in the 'War on Terror': Analysis and Evaluation of its Influence on the Spanish Press'. Mª Luisa was based at Facultad de Comunicación, University of Navarra, Spain. Her supervisor was Professor María Teresa La Porte Fernández-Alfaro. She spent time at the New Political Communication Unit, Royal Holloway, in 2008 and presented an early iteration of her thesis. Her abstract is below. She can be contacted on Well done Mª Luisa. Mª Luisa Azpíroz Manero: American Public Diplomacy in the 'War on Terror': Analysis and Evaluation of its Influence on the Spanish Press Public diplomacy is an international political communication activity that experienced renewed importance in the United States after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The 'War on Terror' promoted by the Bush Administration was accompanied by the implementation of public diplomacy strategies designed to reinforce the fight against terrorism and to diminish the levels of anti-Americanism, especially in the Muslim world, through the exercise of soft power. The object of this thesis is, in the first place, to study public diplomacy as an international political communication activity.

In the second place, to carry out empirical research that, resorting to framing theory as a methodological tool, analyzes and evaluates the influence of Bush’s declarations and speeches, as a part of American mediatic diplomacy, in the Spanish press, in two case studies on the 'War on Terror' (the first case study spans the period from 9/11 to November 2001, and the second, the months prior to the Iraq War). To do so, the content of this thesis is set out in six chapters. The first chapter presents a theoretical framework of public diplomacy, the second chapter explains the methodology that is used in the empirical study and the third chapter offers a context for the case studies where that methodology is applied. Chapters four, five and six constitute the empirical part of the work: in the first two the results of the analysis of mediatic diplomacy in two specific periods of the 'War on Terror' are exposed, and, in the last, an evaluation of its influence based on the results of the analysis and on the consideration of other relevant factors is performed." Image from

A Traveler in the Foreign Service: The list, the call, the flag - assignments in the Foreign Service - Dave Seminara, "The most common question I get from people who have a passing interest in joining the Foreign Service is: how hard is to get posted to Rome, Paris, Prague, Sydney and other popular vacation destinations. The best way to get a feel for your chances is to have a look at the complete list of U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. ... There are five career tracks in the Foreign Service, called 'cones'-

consular, economic, management, political and public diplomacy."  Image from


Egypt’s Forces Raid Offices of U.S. and Other Civil Groups - David D. Kirkpatrick J. David Goodman, New York Times: Egyptian security forces stormed the offices of 17 nonprofit groups around the country on Thursday, including at least three democracy-promotion groups financed by the United States, as part of what Egypt’s military-led government has said is an investigation into “foreign hands” in the recent outbreak of protests. The raids come of the heels of an investigation by the Egyptian government into foreign financing for nonprofit organizations operating in the country. The military has suggested that such funding has played a role in fomenting protests with goal of bringing down the Egyptian government. The American Embassy did not immediately respond to email messages seeking comment. The Republican and Democratic institutes had been barred from operating in Egypt by the former president Hosni Mubarak but began operating more openly after his ouster in the February revolution.

Slip-Sliding to War with Iran - Robert Parry, This prospective war with Iran -- like the one in Iraq -- is likely to come down to intelligence assessments on Iran's intentions and capabilities. And, as with Iraq's alleged WMD, the many loud voices claiming that Iran is on pace to build a nuclear bomb are drowning out the relatively few skeptics who think the evidence is thin to invisible. Whether Obama can head off a violent conflict with Iran remains to be seen. As the presidential election grows nearer -- and the likely GOP's nominee hammers at Obama as soft on Iran -- a preemptive Israeli attack or a miscalculation by Iran could make war unavoidable.

Rumsfeld-Era Propaganda Program Whitewashed by Pentagon - Cyril Mychalejko, A controversial public relations program run by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's Pentagon was cleared of any wrong-doing by the agency's inspector general in a report published last month. The program used dozens of retired military officers working as analysts on television and radio networks as “surrogates” armed by the Pentagon with “the facts” in order to educate the public about the Department of Defense's operations and agenda. At the same time, the report quoted participating analysts who believed that bullet points provided by Rumsfeld's staff

advanced a “political agenda,” that the program's intent “...was to move everyone's mouth on TV as a sock puppet” and that the program was “...a white-level psyop [psychological operations] program to the American people.” It also found a “preponderance of evidence” that one analyst was dismissed from the program for being critical of the former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, while another analysts said a CNN official told him he was being dropped at the request of the White House. Nevertheless, the inspector general exonerated the Pentagon, stating that it complied with Department of Defense (DoD) policies and regulations, including not using propaganda on the US public, while also claiming that retired military analysts, many of whom were affiliated with defense contractors, gained nothing financially or personally for the businesses they were affiliated with. This case of the U.S. government propagandizing its own people, and the media’s failure to serve as an independent watchdog, further undermines America’s democratic ideals. The world can't afford to wait any longer for rigorous investigations, debates and reforms surrounding these matters. Image from article

All the President's Detainees: What do you know, a consensus emerges on antiterror policy [subscription] - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Journal: The 2012 Pentagon budget authorization includes antiterrorism provisions that confirm and politically endorse the real-world practices of two Administrations.

Petraeus almost quit over Obama drawdown in Afghanistan - David Jackson, A new book says Gen. David Petraeus almost resigned over President Obama's decision to quickly withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The Associated Press, which obtained an early copy of the insider biography of Petraeus, reported that he decided that resigning would be a "selfish, grandstanding move with huge political ramifications"and that now was "time to salute and carry on."

Petraeus, now CIA director, is the subject of All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, due from Penguin Press in January. Image from

Iraq surge’s advocates fear gains will be lost: Fragile democracy at risk, they warn - Rowan Scarborough, The Washington Times: The advisers comprise some of the best national security minds in Washington - strategists such as retired ArmyGen. John Keane, Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Frederick W. Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute. They banded together in 2006 to devise a reinforcement strategy and sell it to the White House, as the U.S. appeared to be losing the Iraq campaign to sectarian violence and al Qaeda bombings. They had a willing warrior in Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq, and they met with White House officials, including Mr. Bush, to sell the plan.

Britain's Future Lies With America, Not Europe: Welcoming Britain back into the North Atlantic economic community would be a win-win for all involved - Iain Murray and James C. Bennett, Wall Street Journal: British, American and Canadian policy makers (along with their Nafta partners in Mexico) should be taking the long view and preparing for a future in which the unsustainable euro zone inevitably collapses. Welcoming Britain back into the North Atlantic economic community would be a win-win for all involved.

Zuckerberg visits Vietnam, despite Facebook ban - Vietnam may block its citizens from using Facebook, but that didn't stop website founder Mark Zuckerberg from vacationing in the communist country. Zuckerberg spent Christmas Day at an ecolodge in the northern mountain town of Sapa and rode a buffalo, said Le Phuc Thien, deputy manager at Topas Ecolodge. Vietnam's aggressive Internet censors block access to Facebook and other websites, but young Vietnamese easily bypass the restrictions.
Image from article, with caption: Facebook's founder and billionaire Mark Zuckerberg touring a village on a buffalo walked by a farmer at the popular mountainous tourist site of Sapa, in northern province of Lao Cai.

Snow-Wash: North Korea Doctored Photos Of Kim's Funeral - Kainaz Amaria, The funeral procession of Kim Jong Il brought back memories of an era when images of Communist propaganda were ubiquitous. The visual backbone of the images or illustrations were usually order and symmetry, enacted on a grand scale. Wednesday's event was no exception. An overall view of the snowy procession had it all: the framed image of Kim Jong Il in the foreground, the masses of mourners lined neatly on the sidelines, the motorcade in perfect sync and the order that is associated with a totalitarian regime; a regime with access to Photoshop. This image, released by Kyodo News and originally transmitted via The Associated Press, shows a cluster of men on the left-hand side of the frame.

This image

released by the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), taken within seconds of the one above, was digitally altered, removing the cluster of men on the left and enhancing the perfect line of mourners. Images from article

Q&A Noam Chomsky: Dictatorships, US relations & state propaganda - A darling of the left, Noam Chomsky is well-known for his articulate criticisms of US foreign policy. The American intellectual takes special interest in how the US coddles authoritarian regimes under threat, in particular when political and economic interests are involved. Chomsky is a longtime professor in the department of linguistics and philosophy at the

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is also famous for developing theories involving the “manufacture of consent” and the dissemination of propaganda through mass media. Recently, he offered to share his personal views on post-Mubarak Egypt with Egypt Independent. Egypt Independent: With regards to public opinion, what are your views on the persistent use of counter revolutionary propaganda through the state media, particularly with regards to distorting news reportage of collisions between the military and protestors, in post-Jan 25 Egypt? Chomsky: Authoritarian regimes of course try to restrict and control thought and its expression. Some, like Nazi Germany, seem to have been quite successful in doing so, Bolshevik Russia somewhat less so, but that was over a much longer period without ongoing military conflict as a mobilizing force. Chomsky image from article

Syria's official propaganda absolutely useless - Sergei Balmasov, Pravda.Ru: Syria, like Libya, is losing the information war. It became evident from the very beginning of the "Arab spring in Syrian way." The official response of the Syrian authorities and the media at times is even more harmful for the regime than the mere silence.

The representatives of the Syrian authorities are beginning to recognize the inability to effectively counter the enemy in the information war. [T]hey need to work more actively with journalists in their territory and to relieve them of excessive care of special services, which sometimes exceed all limits. Second, they have to more actively use magazines and social networks like Facebook. Image from article

Breaking News. Syria: Arab League Head of Mission Refutes Western Media Propaganda - Michel Chossudovsky, The head of the Arab League monitoring group in Syria, Sudan's General Mustafa Dabi, has made "contradictory statements" on the human rights situation in Syria, which no doubt will eventually be erased from the record as not in keeping with the official propaganda line.

Russian police offer $3,000 propaganda prize - The Russian Interior Ministry is establishing a 100,000 ruble ($3,100) prize for the “most talented propaganda of police work,” the ministry said on Wednesday.

It will award prizes for achievement in science, technology, literature and the arts and the promotion of law enforcement agency activities. There are seven prize categories, including sculpture and applied arts, painting, music, cinema, and information technology. The ministry prize committee will be comprised of at least 23 persons. Image from article, with caption: Russian police offer $3,000 propaganda prize

About propaganda in Belarus: Viktor Martynovych: I have not heard anything bad about Ukraine for a long time -  Mykola Siruk, The Day: "A recent unauthorized demonstrations by the FEMEN activists near the KGB building in Belarus was a cause of appearance of publications that claimed some sort of negative attitude towards Ukraine is present in Belarus society. Let us remind that the first messages in mass media said that the employees of the State Security Committee detained three women on December 19. As the FEMEN activists stated later in their blog, the girls were tackled at the Minska railway station by the Belarus police and KGB workers, “they put blindfolds on the girls, drove them around in the bus for the whole night, took them out into the forest, poured oil over them, forced them to take their clothes off, threatened to set them on fire, threatened with a knife, which later was used to cut the girls’ hair.” On the other hand, the head of the State Security Committee stated that that the information about the detention of FEMEN activists by the Belarus KGB workers is a gross provocation.

It is hard to say who is right in conditions like these. But it should be noted that TV show host and politics reviewer at Kommersant, Pavlo Sheremet, concludes in his article at Ukrainska Pravda that “Ukraine has turned into a laughing-stock in Belarus mass media long time ago. Deriding the citizens of Ukraine is a tradition now. Disdain of Ukrainian ways is being cultivated by the state propaganda in Russia and Belarus.” The Day addressed Viktor Martynovych, BelGazeta’s editor in chief with a request to comment on this situation, and the publication of his Belarus colleague." Image, presumably of Martynovych, from article

We lost the propaganda war - The title refers to the Cold War, on which I have been meditating recently, what with the death of Vaclav Havel and the release of the new, completely inadequate version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. While militarily and politically the West won, in the more insiduous field of propaganda, it lost. We can see that in the neurotic anti-Americanism that makes people support some of the most oppressive regimes and ideologies in the world, in the continuing support for the once and future President, now Prime Minister Putin because he appears to be anti-Western, and, above all, in the refusal to face up to the truth about Communism.

A Call for Peace: Say NO to America's Military Adventure: With the pace of war against Iran now thundering in all its fury, it is time to mobilize once again to demand peace - Michael Carmichael, Mind Control, Mental Programming, Brainwashing and Perception Management have reached or exceeded Orwellian levels, and we are now moving confidently toward Huxleyian levels of totalitarian enslavement as vividly portrayed in Brave New World – a far more advanced dystopia than George Orwell’s Oceania, where torture was still applied to recalcitrant subjects. Brave New World programmed masses via propaganda, brainwashing and sensuality. Here are direct quotations from Aldous Huxley about the evolution of totalitarianism: It is possible to make people contented with their servitude. I think this can be done. I think it has been done in the past, and it can be done even more effectively now because you can distract them with bread and circuses and you can provide them with endless amounts of distractions and propaganda. . . The nightmare of 1984 is destined to modulate into the nightmare of Brave New World – the change will be brought about as a result of a self-need for increased efficiency . . . Totalitarian regimes of the future will not be based upon terror, because they will have other means – brainwashing and propaganda – which will be much more efficient and much more economical than terrorism and torture.

A Fool's Paradise Revisited News, Social Media, Television and the "Anti-Mirror"- William Bowles, Propaganda, whether the news, drama or advertising, articulated by the 'middle-class' intelligentsia -- all the products of a university system designed and built to serve the needs of capital -- has succeeded in creating a mass culture and a way of viewing the world that purports to be ours. But it's an invented world, complete with an imagined working class, content to passively consume.

Unprecedented, Possibly: Maybe a man in Philadelphia did invent the brassiere in 1863, but the massed minds of Wikipedia don't offer much support [review of Robertson's Book of Firstsby Patrick Robertson (Bloomsbury, 569 pages, $35)] - Alexander Waugh, Wall Street Journal: If some seekers of truth find themselves dismayed by the factual squabbling between the author and his online

competition, American patriots may draw some comfort from the way in which he has tailored his text to the American interest. Relatively new countries, however vast, are unlikely to be credited with as many "firsts" as ancient civilizations like China or little ol' Europe. Image from article


--From Princess Sparkle Pny's Photoblog


Image from a strategic military rocket motor factory near Moscow; from