Friday, March 16, 2012

March 16

"[Once it was] holding on to something in your room, now it's about engaging with others online around a social object."

--Harvard tech culture researcher David Weinberger, regarding the notion of "possession" in our digital age of "the cloud, that shared virtual warehouse-in-the-sky being built out by Google, Amazon, Apple and others, where they await retrieval via our phones, tablets and computers." Image from


(a) Dadipad.  Via LP

(b) Ugandan Girl: ‘KONY 2012′ is US Military Propaganda


Letter from the President Regarding the Administration's Comprehensive Interagency Strategy for Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication - Text of the entry: "Attached is text of a letter from the President to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Committees on Armed Services and Appropriations

and the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding the Administration's comprehensive interagency strategy for public diplomacy and strategic communication." [The letter cannot retrieved via Google at 9:15 am March 16]. Image from

State/OIG: Bureau Overseeing Youth Exchange Program “Exaggerated” On-Site Review Results and Compliance - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "The same day that MSNBC’s Rock Center aired allegations that exchange students were sexually abused in youth programs overseen by the State Department, it also ran a companion piece featuring the State Department’s official spokesperson, Toria Nuland defending the foreign exchange program  (see Critics blame State Department for turning a blind eye on sex abuse). Quick excerpt below:
The State Department defends the high school exchange program, and maintains that the vast majority of the 200,000 students who have come to America over the past decade have had an overwhelmingly positive experience. 'These kids have an enormously gratifying, rich, fantastic American experience that lasts with them for a lifetime,' said State Department Spokesperson Toria Nuland. State Department staffers told NBC News that a fraction of one percent of high school foreign exchange students reported sexual harassment or abuse by a host parent for the 2010-2011 academic school year.
The very next day after the MSNBC report aired, the Office of the Inspector General finally released its much awaited review of the  Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) who has oversight over this program and multiple other programs, from Fulbright to the Summer Work Training (SWT) program."

Aid to Russian Democracy, US Seeking Use of Funds - MOSCOW - "The Obama administration is pushing to free $ 50 million in long-Stalled aid to Promote democracy and civil society in Russia, an attempt That Comes amid a drumbeat of accusations That the United States is meddling in Russia's internal politics. ... The United States ambassador to Russia, Michael A. McFaul, drew new attention to the money to this week in Washington, where 'ET [?] is working to persuade Congress to lift cold war-era trade restrictions ahead of Russia's formal entry Into the World Trade Organization. In a speech to the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, Mr. McFaul Said the money ... [w]ould [b]e [u]sed as a year of efforts by the United States 'to advance rule of law, to advance Accountable government and civil society ...' . Asked about allegations That ET and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Were working to sow unrest in Russia, Mr. McFaul Said [t]hat [h]e [w]as using Facebook and Twitter [a]mong [o]ther [t]ools to conduct 'public diplomacy.'"

U.S. Drawdown: A Heritage Roundtable - kalel, "Helle Dale [Heritage Foundation [:] Unrequited love might be the best description of European feelings about President Obama. The state visit by British Prime Minister David Cameron and the Obama Administration’s decision on further drawdown of U.S. troops based in Europe capture the badly troubled nature of the transatlantic relationship. Cameron is in the U.S. to cement relations with President Obama, whom Europeans are convinced (indeed hope) will remain in office for a second term. Yet, at the very same time, the Pentagon has announced a further drawdown of U.S. troops based in Europe. 'In another chapter on our incredible shrinking military, Team Obama has decided to reduce US forces in Europe by about 15,000 troops (of an estimated 80,000)

over the next two years,' writes Peter Brookes. As Brookes notes, this move is logistically problematic and sends terrible public diplomacy signals. The consequences will be diminishing ties with Europe through NATO, declining interoperability within the alliance, less ability for the U.S. to engage in trouble spots like North Africa and the Middle East, and encouragement for Russian revanchism under newly reelected President Vladimir Putin. None of this is good news for the transatlantic relationship or American global leadership. But the fault is not all on the Obama Administration’s side. The fact is that European views of American power are conceptually self-contradictory—some might call it hypocritical." Image from

Obama treats Cameron to courtside action - "Basketball fan-in-chief President Barack Obama has given British Prime Minister David Cameron a front-row seat to the top college tournament, taking his European partner to an election swing state for an NCAA tournament game. ... The two men are practising a brand of public diplomacy uniquely appropriate to two young, athletic leaders, said Heather Conley, senior fellow of the Europe program at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a DC-based think tank. 'Historically, the special relationship has always been about the shared history and culture, close military and economic ties,' she said. 'But the 'special' part is the quality of the relationship between the two leaders.' Especially at a moment when potential adversaries are sizing up the strength of the alliance, she said, 'It's important to project that close partnership.'"

Fact or fiction? Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Britain – 2012 edition! - "For the past two years I have published a list of Barack Obama’s biggest insults against America’s foremost ally, Great Britain, during his time in office. Here is an updated list to accompany President Obama’s hosting this week of an official visit to the White House by the British Prime Minister, as a reminder that a basketball trip to Ohio and a bells and whistles state dinner do not erase a track record of major insults by the Obama administration since it took office. Mr Obama has been by far the most anti-British president in modern American history, kicking off his presidency with the removal of a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from the Oval Office, and continuing today with a policy of knifing Britain in the back over the Falklands.

He will be all smiles and full of platitudes this week when he greets Mr Cameron in Washington, but the fact remains that for President Obama the Special Relationship has been largely a blip on his teleprompter screen, in his eyes an anachronism of a bygone era, rather than the engine of the free world. ... 6. Throwing Churchill out of the Oval Office [:] It is hard to think of a more derogatory message to send to the British people within days of taking office than to fling a bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office and send it packing back to the British Embassy – not least as it was a loaned gift from Britain to the United States as a powerful display of solidarity in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Obviously, public diplomacy is not a concept that carries much weight in the current White House, and nor apparently is common sense. Three years on, the Churchill bust incident continues to embarrass the Obama White House, and remains a sad symbol of this administration’s contempt for the Special Relationship as well as one of the greatest figures in British history." Image from article

An American Cultural Diplomat in Pakistan: Frustration and Motivation - William Harvey, "I committed anew to the exigency of cultural diplomacy, which is the hose that can douse the fires of hatred and misunderstanding that threaten to consume the world we live in. Whether Pakistani or American, we must keep reaching

out—through tools such as music, and through any other means—in order to remind each other that in spite of our differences, we are united by our common humanity." Image from

Newest VOA English-language product is from VOA Burmese - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

"Why fighting Mullah Radio is not easy" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Afghanistan: $2 Billion a Week for Hatred is Too Much, FBI Says Now It's Coming Here - Ralph Lopez, Daily Kos: "[T]hanks to a fearlessly outspoken line officer, Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, we now know what we don't know about Afghanistan.  In his bombshell report which is to Afghanistan what the Pentagon Papers were to Vietnam,'Dereliction of Duty II: Senior Military Leaders’ Loss of Integrity Wounds Afghan War Effort,' Davis all but calls his top commanders skilled, habitual, wouldn't-know-truth-if-it-hit-them-in-the-head bald-faced liars about the situation in Afghanistan. ... Davis brings to bear as evidence the words of officers in charge of safeguarding and refining what can only be called a culture of deception among the top military command, in which the American public is seen as just another opponent against whom to conduct psychological operations. Davis quotes an article by Colonel Richard B. Leap ('Strategic Communication: An Imperative for the Global War on Terrorism Environment'), in which Leap says: 'the US Government must clarify the roles, responsibilities, authorities and relationships between Public Affairs, Public Diplomacy and Information Operations to not only influence foreign target audiences, but to safeguard US national will.' Davis writes: ['] It seems not to have occurred to the Colonel that the drop in American public support...might have had something to do with the actual deteriorating battlefield conditions and not a 'failure' on the part of PA to accurately 'frame' the matter....what's to say the implication isn't that we can 'frame' only the positive information while suppressing the negative - or to manufacture positive information if none exists. Colonel Leap concludes his article by recommending several actions designed to strengthen 'Military Information Operations,' such as specifically addressing 'all prior legislation beginning with the Smith-Mundt Act that is limiting the effectiveness of Information organizations in the

GWOT environment.' Davis says: ['] In case you aren't familiar with the Smith-Mundt Act, it established the US law that was amended in 1985 to specifically prohibit US organizations from using information 'to influence public opinion in the United States.' ...Colonel Leap is implying we ought to change the law to enable Public Affairs officers to influence American public opinion when they deem it necessary to 'protect a key friendly center of gravity, to wit US national will.'" Image from

Beijing Floods the Zone - "The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda machine is ramping up across Washington, D.C., in ways large and small. The principal cog in China’s effort to influence U.S. thought leaders is China Daily, an English-language newspaper that takes an uncritical look at the People’s Republic of China and toes the Communist party line on a range of issues, including the economy and politics. The paper, which is engaged in an advertising partnership with the Washington Post that some experts describe as unethical, is delivered on a weekly basis to nearly every office on Capitol Hill and is readily available in newspaper dispensers across the city. “It’s in all of the offices,” an aide to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R., Calif.), an outspoken critic of China, told the Free Beacon. “It’s one more component of a very broad-based campaign to influence U.S. public opinion.” China is waging a carefully orchestrated campaign to push its party propaganda among unsuspecting Americans and D.C. insiders alike, the source said. “We should emphasize the broad nature of this,” said the staffer. “The sum total is greater than any one part.” China Daily routinely distorts the news in service of the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda. ... In early February, the Chinese launched an American version of China Central Television (CCTV) based in Washington, D.C. CCTV is a state-controlled news operation that routinely releases flattering portraits of the ruling Communist regime. 'They’re trying to get into the mainstream,' said the Rohrabacher staffer. 'Each one piece [of China’s media blitz] has not [had] a great effect, but there’s a cumulative effect. All of these themes, ideas, and concepts will work into other areas.' China experts have noted that the Communist government is especially concerned with foreign propaganda. 'The Chinese government puts a high value on propaganda work, describing it as the life blood (shengmingxian) of the Party-State in the current era,' Anne-Marie Brady, an associate professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, told the USCC in 2009. “China’s foreign propaganda experts are extremely critical of what they call the ‘Western media’s ideological assault on the rest of the world.’” See also.

Ornate Links Tethering Cultures in Flux - Karen Rosenberg, New York Times: "Big anthropological surveys are feats of cultural diplomacy, requiring years of negotiation and persuasion. And when regular diplomacy breaks down because of hostility or instability, museums feel the impact.

We were reminded of this last spring, when Asia Society’s exhibition of Buddhist art from Pakistan was delayed for six months. And now again as the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 'Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition' opens without some important loans from Egypt." Image from

Reconstructing Public Diplomacy in the Context of Policy, Communication, and Technology: An Examination of U.S. - Mexico Border Relations - Protocolo de Relaciones Exteriores: Bienvenidos! Ésta página fue creada con el fin de introducirlos un poco más en el mundo de las Relaciones Internacionales, así como el modo de hacer negocios en diferentes regiones del mundo: "El artículo habla acerca de que la diplomacia pública no ha sido bien utilizada por Estados Unidos especialmente respecto a la frontera México-Estados Unidos y esto ha generado que Estados Unidos tenga una percepción negativa en nuestro país.

Esto podría cambiar si Estados Unidos utilizara recursos tecnológicos para fomentar la comunicación y facilitar la diplomacia con México. En conclusión los gobiernos necesitan resolver urgentemente este problema tratando de buscar soluciones sólidas para mejorar la relación y diplomacia. References [:] Chavez, M., & Hoewe, J. (2010). Reconstructing Public Diplomacy in the Context of Policy, Communication, and Technology: An Examination of U.S. - Mexico Border Relations. Journal Of Borderlands Studies, 25(3/4), 181-190." Image: Mexico-US border counties

Arab Spring Media Monitor: One Year of Coverage - Rachel Chan, PD News – Media Monitor Reports, USC Center on Public Diplomacy. Contains numerous references to public diplomacy.

A documentary on a doyen of contemporary Indian art - "As part of its proactive public diplomacy outreach, the external affairs ministry has decided to don the mantle of filmmaker. It has done so with the recent premiere of a special documentary, entitled 'A Brush With Life', on the life of master artist Satish Gujral who overcame various physical challenges to emerge as a stalwart of his era with immense contribution to contemporary Indian art. ... [T]he joint secretary (public diplomacy) in the external affairs ministry, Navdeep Suri, was reported in the media as saying: 'The ministry has been making films for the last three decades or so to project India in various interesting and diverse ways. But very few are actually aware of it. We are making special efforts now to dub them in all the UNESCO languages and hosting clips on YouTube.'"

Public Diplomacy - Tsolmon Davaa, "Public Diplomacy is one of the new trends in international relations. To begin, let’s settle on a simple definition of Public Diplomacy, 'that element of diplomacy that involves a government reaching out to a public, rather than to another government.' A more complete definition recognizes that it need not be a 'government' that reaches out. Multinational organizations, NGOs, corporations, and the like may do so as well. Not only do governments possess this tool of public diplomacy, but also the public expects them to use it. To varying degrees, people feel intellectually and politically liberated by the technologies that enable them to be part of the larger world. A nation that does not reach out through public diplomacy today will not be considered a global leader, and it will not be adequately serving its own international interests. Nowadays practitioners and scholars point out that even small countries really need to pay a great deal of attention to public diplomacy because the need for greater attention to public diplomacy is partly a function of globalized communication, which has sharpened the points at which policy and the public meet. ... In the past few years a number of publications are being published on public diplomacy and there are centers and offices in charge of that kind of work. ... When it comes to public diplomacy (PD), the experts can’t seem to agree on much. 46 years after

Edmund Gullion, U.S. Ambassador and Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, coined the term, there is still no widely accepted definition of PD. Some writers conflate the terms 'strategic communication' and 'public diplomacy.' Others argue that there is a 'conceptual convergence' of public relations (PR) and PD. Increasingly, experts talk about 'PD 2.0,' or even a 'new' public diplomacy, but like the old PD, they can’t seem to agree on what it is. There is, however, one aspect of PD about which everyone agrees—evaluating it is difficult, but important. ... History suggests that some of the most successful public diplomacy initiatives are educational and cultural exchanges that involve citizens and non-governmental institutions. ... The key to the fledgling field’s success will be determined by the approach taken and the ability of officials in the field to decide exactly what the mission and implementation of PD will be." Gullion image from

Open Governance and Public Diplomacy - Ryan J. Suto, "This post will focus on what I see are the theoretically similar foundations of both open governance and public diplomacy. I argue that both these concepts rely, in large part, on the concept of ‘transparency’. Transparency here will be defined as the intentional exposure of internal information to external publics. Thus, transparency is an important feature of public relations theory, which serves and the basis of public diplomacy. In the context of government, transparency lies at eh hear of open governance, itself a necessary component of effective democracy."

Social Media Masters: Atlanta - A few nice social media images I found: Social Media Masters: Atlanta [:]

Image by kristiewells [--] Social Media Master, Candace Kemp McCaffery, digs into social media measurement.

Social Media Hub Image by Darren Krape [.] The Social Media Hub is an internal Department of State site to centralize information on the use of social media for public diplomacy. It was developed in WordPress and included a number of custom plugins." Images from article


How Not to Attract Tourists - Mark Vanhoenacker, New York Times: As Americans, we like to imagine our country as we think of ourselves: open-hearted and welcoming; efficient and practical; easygoing, above all. These values are the foundation of our culture, of an open economy fueled by ideas and immigration, and of our soft power — America’s ability to change the world simply because it is admired. Whatever foreigners think of the American experiment, though, it’s unlikely the experience of crossing our border has made them think better of it. A 2006 survey by the U.S. Travel Association

found that foreign travelers were more afraid of United States immigration officials than of terrorism or crime. The security mind-set occasionally veers into the absurd. Recently, two young European tourists were detained at Los Angeles International Airport for tweeting loose banter about plans to “destroy” America (an apparent reference to partying) and to disinter Marilyn Monroe. Vigilant border personnel reportedly searched their luggage for shovels, then deported them. Let’s get rid of customs forms — saving money, trees and time — and do what many countries safely do: post customs limits to assist the law-abiding, and use intelligence and random searches to catch criminals. Image from

Fmr. CIA head of Bin Laden unit on US soldier: could be moved back to Afghanistan - On Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien, Gary Berntsen, former commander of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit in Afghanistan, discusses the potential fallout of the U.S. moving the Afghanistan shooter to Kuwait, Leon Panetta security scare and sustained American presence in the country. He says , “They did a poll about a year ago on the Afghan men between the ages of 20 and 32, and 90 percent of them didn't know why we were there, didn't know about 9/11. Afghanistan is a country with a very, very low literacy rate. We are losing the I.O., the information operations war, the propaganda war. The Taliban respond very quickly to attacks. They put out information that the United States are occupying force, despite the fact that we're there at the desires of the Afghan government that we built thousands of schools. I mean, we've done a lot of good work there. The majority of Afghans support our presence there, but, you know, Pakistanis, Iranians, militant groups on the Afghan border don't want us there and are conducting a propaganda war against the U.S. with some success.”

NATO’s measured exit plan in Afghanistan faces new obstacles - Ernesto Londoño and Karen DeYoung, Washington Post: The measured Afghanistan endgame

that President Obama outlined this week suffered new setbacks Thursday, as the Taliban suspended peace talks with the United States and Afghan President Hamid Karzai demanded that NATO withdraw forces from the small, rural outposts that are at the heart of its military mission here. The developments are the latest in a cascade of challenges to the exit that the administration and its coalition partners are planning, including a gradual turnover of security responsibility to Afghan troops, a paced U.S. and NATO withdrawal and a negotiated peace with the Taliban. Image from

McManus: A Plan C for Afghanistan -- Election year or no, Obama needs a new plan for getting out - Doyle McManus, An increasing number of Afghans, including some who were once resolutely pro-American, have had enough. That's why the United States and its allies face a genuine crisis in their effort to keep troops in Afghanistan until 2014 and beyond.

That's the rub: As long as thousands of U.S. forces are in Afghanistan, ugly collisions between Afghans and Americans will happen. Plan A — turning Afghanistan into a smoothly functioning democracy — didn't work. Plan B — handing the war over to an Afghan army with U.S. advisors, is under siege. Reassessing a major foreign policy effort in the middle of an election year won't be a welcome idea for a president seeking to project an image of calm and steady leadership. But election year or not, it's time to come up with Plan C. Image from article, with caption: President Obama is seen waving to U.S. soldiers during a surprise visit to Afghanistan in Dec. 2010.

The Pentagon’s cold feet on Syria - Max Boot, Washington Post: Today, in the case of Syria, any military action needs to be carefully thought through, but we should not refuse to act simply because of the worst-case scenarios being raised by the Pentagon. U.S. personnel could play a critical role by using

our largess to buttress the more moderate elements of the opposition while shutting out factions affiliated with extremist groups that receive support from Gulf Arabs. Notwithstanding the lack of a U.N. resolution — blocked by Russia and China — Washington could assemble a coalition of the willing as President Bill Clinton did for Kosovo. But that will happen only if the Obama administration decides that action is called for and does not allow itself to be paralyzed by the Pentagon’s reluctance to intervene. Image from article

NPR Propaganda Watch. Faux Debate on U.S. Role in Syria - John Walsh, NPR’s “All Things Considered” ran a “discussion” about Syria and the U.S.

All options were not on the table – at least not the anti-interventionist option. Melissa Block hosted three guests seriatim: the aptly named Anne-Marie Slaughter, former “director of planning” at the State Department. Paul Wolfowitz, architect of the criminal war on Iraq and Daniel Serwer, a former U.S. “special envoy” and “coordinator” for the Bosnian Federation. How is that for a broad spectrum of views? Three interventionists, with one, Serwer, opining that intervention is impractical now so that we have to hope we can effect regime change through diplomatic means. The idea that we have no right to intervene in Syria is not even discussed. The anti-interventionist view is not even considered. Humanitarian Imperialism holds sway in the corridors of NPR. NPR is one of the main opinion shapers for the intelligentsia in the US, and hence a very valuable asset for the Empire." Image from

Iranian Involvement: Marches to Israel's Borders March 30, 2012 - A number of simultaneous marches to Israel's borders from the various Arab countries are planned for March 30, 2012, referring to themselves as part of the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ). The marches are expected to take place in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The anti-Israeli boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign is also planning a so-called "global activity day," combining propaganda events in various places around the world with Land Day, marked by Israeli Arabs. The organizers of the events set up committees and umbrella networks in the various countries to deal with logistic deployment and propaganda.

Getting It Right: "Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians" - John L. Esposito, Huffington Post: While it is accepted that ambassadors speak for and defend their country's policies, Michael Oren's March 12 Wall Street Journal article, "Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians" exploits a real issue, the fears and plight of Christians in some Muslim countries, to engage in a cynical and distorted piece of propaganda. In recent years, as Oren correctly notes, attacks against segments of Christian communities by militant Muslims have threatened the security, churches and lives of Christians from Nigeria and Egypt to Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Malaysia. While often rejected by the majority of citizens, religious freedom is indeed under siege. Iraq is a strong case in point. As Oren observes, "Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in

Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee." Regrettably, Oren takes a tragedy and uses it as a backdrop for a deceptive piece of anti-Palestinian propaganda, attributing the changes in Christian demographics to religion rather than Israeli domestic and economic policies and presenting Israel as a resplendent safe haven for Arab and Palestinian Christians: "Under Israeli auspices, [Bethlehem's] Christian population grew by 57 percent. But under the Palestinian Authority since 1995, those numbers have plummeted. Palestinian gunmen seized Christian homes -- compelling Israel to build a protective barrier between them and Jewish neighborhoods -- and then occupied the Church of the Nativity, looting it and using it as a latrine. Today, Christians comprise a mere one-fifth of their holy city's population." Michael Oren, the ex-academic, plays with statistics and ought to know better. Oren image from

UN Official Caught Spreading Anti-Israel Propaganda - Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor called Wednesday for the dismissal of a UN official who earlier this week tweeted a picture of a Palestinian child covered in blood and falsely claimed she was killed by an IDF strike. Kuhlood Badawi, an information and media coordinator for OCHA, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, posted a link to the picture of a young girl covered in blood being carried by her father, along with the tweet: “Palestine is bleeding. Another child killed by #Israel... Another father carrying his child to a Grave in #Gaza.” The picture, it emerged, was published in 2006 by Reuters and was of a Palestinian girl who died in an accident unrelated to Israel.

The International Obsession With Joseph Kony Is Already Ending: The Kony 2012 campaign treated its audience like children with short attention spans, and now that's how many of them are behaving - Max Fisher, Almost exactly one week after viral video campaign Kony 2012 alerted millions of viewers to the horror of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, the start of what was supposed to be an international activism campaign to spur the U.S. military to arrest him, the world appears to have lost interest.

According to Google data posted above, searches for Kony have dropped precipitously, as have his mentions in the news. Search volume looks to be dropping pretty rapidly back down toward zero, where it was throughout the now-over years of Kony's worst atrocities. The chart looks almost identical for U.S.-only searches. For the sake of comparison, here's a chart that compares U.S. searches for (and, below that, news on) Kony, Oscars, NCAA, Obama, and Syria.

The latter two barely register. The Oscars had a tellingly similar trajectory as Kony: an entertainment event that inspired frenzied but short-lived interest. The NCAA has just surpassed Kony in terms of the American Internet user's interest. The Western world may have already burned through its enthusiasm for Invisible Children's campaign, but many actual Africans are just now seeing it, and they don't care for it. A planned screening tour of Uganda, Kony's home country and the site of his worst atrocities, has been cancelled after Ugandans reacted with outrage to the film's patronizing treatment of Africans and its glorification of white NGO workers. Images from article. Via ACP III on Facebook.

#StopKONY Now!!! – Roger Cohen, New York Times: This superficial video and its viral wave have troubling aspects.

Norwegian fury over Stockholm 'propaganda' - Frustration over Stockholm's claim to be the "Capital of Scandinavia" has reached new levels, as angry Norwegian delegates tore up entrance cards bearing the slogan at

a recent trade show in France. The dust up over which city reigns supreme in Scandinavia took place at a real estate and investment show in Cannes, France, where some 200 Swedish representatives placed banners and advertising with the slogan "Stockholm: The Capital of Scandinavia." The move sparked a fierce backlash from Norwegian and Danish delegations miffed by the Swedish capital's unsubstantiated claim to be the top city in Scandinavia. ”This is typical Swedish megalomania,” said Erling Fossen to Norwegian Afenposten newspaper. Image from article

How Iceland Is Rebuilding Its Economy With Social Media - by Samantha Murphy,

How the AP Selected Its North Korea Reporter - John Hudson It's the most restricted place in the world, and if you want to run a news bureau there, you're going to have to play ball with the powers that be. For the Associated Press, which launched the first full-time, all-format Western news bureau in North Korea in January, that means hiring local journalists from a list of names provided by the North Korean government, ranked 178th out of 179 on the Press Freedom Index.

The Korean Central News Agency, which makes frequent appearances in our own Propaganda Parade, is prone to the flowery language of only the most caricatured government propagandists. "The hearts of all the journalists and other media persons throughout the country are now burning with hatred at the renewed provocations of the group of traitors and their determination is running high," reads a recent story. Image from article

Russian Esquire editor fined for drug propaganda - Roskomnadzor (Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications) fined Dmitry Golubovsky, editor in chief of Esquire Russia magazine for 40,000 rubles (approximately $1,300) for propaganda and the advertizing of illegal drugs.

Golubovsky confirmed this to "We had an article where we quoted the users of encrypted secret internet-site with prohibited things," he said. The article was published in December 2011 issue. Golubovsky image from article

Saudi and Orientalist Propaganda at the British Museums’ Hajj Exhibition - "The Hajj Exhibition at the British Museum is viewed as a great dawah

opportunity by many Muslims. As far as I’m concerned it’s a propaganda piece for the House of Saud project & it’s [sic] Orientalist backers." Image from article

Mark H. Teeter on Facebook: TONITE’S BEST BET: Парк советского периода / Soviet Park (2006) (Tsentr, 20:15). A Soviet-era theme park—just imagine!

Want to join the Young Pioneers? Or how’d you like to be a secret policeman for a day – or Beria himself? Tempted? Perhaps 90% of the Russian population is still looking for an engaging, well-packaged, *empathetic* recreation of the Soviet experience that will make sense of both ... Image from entry

Disney’s Propaganda Films - Posted on March 16, 2012 There was a time when propaganda films were known for what they were, propaganda. For example, during World War II Hollywood studios actively helped in the war effort. The most famous of these films was Frank Capra’s “WHY WE FIGHT”, a collection of informational films designed to explain what the war was about. Lesser known were Walt Disney’s animated films. The next time you turn on Fox News, and to a lesser extent, MSNBC, turn up the critical eye. See how they are using images and words to manipulate the content. You will discover that things have not changed all that much from the 1940s an Disney’s propaganda films. The only real difference is back then we had a real enemy. Now, as Pogo once said, the “enemy is us.”

The “Stab in the Back” Legend (1942) - Randall Bytwerk, "While looking for other things I came across this vivid cartoon from Der Schulungsbrief (#1/2/3 of 1942). This was the Nazi Party’s periodical for 'political education.”

Households were strongly encouraged to subscribe. It portrayed the Nazi legend that Germany had won World War I militarily, only to be stabbed in the back by Jewish traitors in the homeland. It’s interesting that this appeared early in1942, after the invasion of the Soviet Union had not proved as successful as expected. Discerning Germans by then were beginning to realize that the war could be lost — an idea propagandists wanted to discourage by suggesting that the only way Germany could lose was through treason." Image from article

Priceless posters stolen by Nazis returned - A valuable collection of posters stolen in 1938 by Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels will be returned to a Jewish family in the United States, Germany's supreme court ordered on Friday. The collection of some 4,300 posters, valued at around €4.4 million ($5.7 million), was taken by the Nazi propaganda ministry from Jewish dentist Hans Sachs, the top poster collector in Germany from the early 20th century.


"My children aren't interested in physical representations of media, they are far more intrigued by objects they create themselves."

--Jyri Engestrom, an Internet entrepreneur and founder of Ditto, a social networking site


Sex-deprived male flies go for the booze, study finds


--From: California is OK - Jason Weisberger, Boing-Boing


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