Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 7

"We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."

--Formerly active US General Stanley McChrystal, regarding checkpoints in Afghanistan; image from


(a) NATO Engages in Public (Digital) Diplomacy - "Message by Dr. Stefanie Babst (NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy). A new initiative from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, part of a public, or better framed, digital diplomacy."

(b) Learn From Lei Feng: CCP Judicial Bureau Chief Collects Butts [New Tang Dynasty TV] - "Propaganda, public diplomacy or the genuine article? The skeptics are out in force as U.S. based New Tang Dynasty TV takes a critical look at the official 'Learning from Lei Feng Day' after the Chongqing Judicial administration initiated an activity to 'learn from Lei Feng'. Judicial Bureau Director Lin Yujun walked about 8 km in 2 hours, collecting half a bag of cigarette butts. Along with him were up to 10,000 staff from all levels of judicial bureaus joining in sweeping the streets and wiping railings." 

(c) Words of Warcraft Stewart - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: "With threats and taunts mounting, can we get a responsible party to break up this Iranian-Israeli schoolyard fight before someone gets hurt? (09:08)." Via AB on facebook

(d) Syria Danny’ Caught Staging CNN War Propaganda Stunt  – "Astounding footage has emerged of ‘Syria Danny’ [:] [T]he dubious 'activist who appears on mainstream news every week begging for a US or Israeli military invasion – in which he apparently coordinates gunfire and explosions to be staged during his interview with CNN."


2012 Melbourne Conference on China / 2012 - Global media and public diplomacy in Sino-Western relations - "Wednesday 30 May and Thursday 31 May 2012. Venue The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia."


Strengthening U.S.-Iraq Educational and Cultural Ties - J. Adam Ereli, DipNote: "During my year in Iraq at the U.S. Embassy and in my current position in Washington, I have experienced firsthand the powerful positive impact of educational and cultural exchange programs on both Iraqis and Americans. People from both countries -- particularly youth -- have so much to learn from one another. An important shared goal of the U.S. and Iraqi governments is to find more ways to bring our citizens together. The U.S. and Iraq discussed these exchanges at a recent meeting of the U.S.-Iraq Joint Coordinating Committee for Cultural and Educational Cooperation in Washington, co-chaired by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock and Iraqi Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Ali Al-Adeeb.

American and Iraqi officials spent a productive morning reviewing our exchanges in the areas of higher education, primary and secondary education, cultural heritage, and youth and sports. On February 22-23, the Iraqi Embassy in Washington (with support from the State Department) organized a conference that brought together more than 100 representatives of Iraqi and American colleges, universities, and higher education institutions, including presidents of ten major Iraqi universities." Via PD_Dan on twitter. Image from

U.S. Department of State Announces Basketball Sports Exchange with South Africa - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, State Department, Washington, DC: "The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today a basketball Sports Visitor exchange that will bring 12 South African coaches to the United States March 8-19. During the exchange, the coaches will meet with U.S. sports professionals, work with young American athletes at local schools, participate in a National Basketball Association (NBA) clinic, and conduct teambuilding and injury prevention activities in the Washington, D.C. area. The group will conclude their program in Nashville, Tennessee where they will watch regional basketball games and participate in Special Olympics sessions."

Media Mission Across America, Part 2 - Maan Al-Majali, Huffington Post: "Week one in the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) on Media Literacy trip to the US has concluded. What can I say? The whole experience has by far lived up to its high standards promised and beyond. If you missed part one to this series of articles/blogs, please do revisit to get an overall gist of what I'm doing here (at least what I thought I was here for). The trip commenced in Washington DC, a city of superlative attractions. Here, I was introduced to the fellow participants chosen from around the world, all from various backgrounds in the media industry. It would be a sheer understatement if I were to say that these minds are truly and utterly remarkable. Just sitting in the conference room, introducing ourselves one by one was inspiring. Within our group you will find a rich diversity of culture, experience, skills, backgrounds, age, religion, tradition, intelligence and last but not least, humour. Countries represented range from Bangladesh to Bhutan, Egypt to Estonia, Nepal to Nigeria, and United Arab Emirates to, of course, the United Kingdom. Each participant (who in such short space of time I can call friends and colleagues) has a certain twinkle in their eye, a mission, a history, a passion, something special to share. ... My colleagues have been the biggest equation to making the whole experience truly a once in a lifetime trip. The organisation by the Department of State - and the International Development Consortium that run the programme - has been precise and very carefully thought out and planned, logistically 'awesome'."

Image from

Crowdsourcing and Diplomacy: A Love Story for the 21st Century Statesman-in-Waiting - Eric Coleman, "While the prevailing trend in federal work seems to be the uninspired status quo, the employees of the State Department’s innovative (yes, innovative) Office of eDiplomacy have taken it upon themselves to upend your pessimistic Washington worldview. Launched in 2003, the Office of eDiplomacy is housed within the Bureau of Information Resource Management, tasked with the mission to further American diplomatic efforts 'by providing effective knowledge-sharing initiatives, guidance on the convergence of technology and diplomacy, and first-class IT consulting' ( Though still a fledgling by governmental standards, the office has already implemented several tech-savvy initiatives, including the Diplopedia Wiki, an internal encyclopedia of foreign service data; Tech@State, an ongoing series of networking events aimed at connecting technologists with the country’s diplomatic and development goals; and the Virtual Student Foreign Service, an e-internship program of 'digital diplomacy' for American college students. The Virtual Student Foreign Service–VSFS for short–is the project that really breaks the unyielding, bureaucratic mold. Secretary Clinton announced the launch of phase one, the nine-month e-internship program, during her 2009 commencement speech at New York University. Phase two, a crowdsourcing, microvolunteering initiative is currently in the testing stage, ready to go live later this spring. 'Crowdsourcing? At the State Department?' you might ask, incredulously. ... The program is deceptively simple: college students will create a profile using their .edu email address, select their diplomacy-related interests and relevant skills, and search through a list of available 'challenges' that fit their self-identified skill-set. To give you two specific examples, an employee at the U.S. Embassy of Sweden might post a challenge aimed at budding graphic designers that calls for the re-design of their e-newsletter, or the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues might ask the quantitatively-inclined to answer the question 'How much does the mobile Internet really cost in Africa?' The presenter from the State Department even granted attendees access to the beta version of the website, which I have been eagerly navigating ever since. The Office of eDiplomacy is the most visible face of '21st century statecraft' in action."

Nice Social Media photos - Dragon Weathervanes: "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." Image from entry, with caption: by Darren Krape

BBG meeting, with webcast, is Thursday at 2015 UTC - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

VOA celebrates its 70th anniversary. New podcast about Willis Conover - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Moral principles need to guide U.S. international broadcasting - Ted Lipien, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "Just as the American non-recognition of an illegal Soviet invasion and the U.S. diplomatic support for the continuity of the independence of the Baltic States, Voice of America broadcasts have the same moral, symbolic and practical meaning for the Tibetans, the Chinese and other nations that have lost their freedom. It’s a politically sound principle that would win the BBG approval in Congress, among human rights organizations and other groups and communities supporting U.S. international broadcasting. Right now, the Broadcasting Board of Governors is at war with its natural and strongest supporters. The BBG operates now on the commercial audience research principle. It’s a completely wrong approach because U.S. international broadcasting was not created to be commercially-driven. Of course the BBG can reach a much larger audience in China or any other undemocratic country if it compromises with the local regime and makes its programs politically meaningless. That’s how the commercial principle works. But even more dangerous is the bureaucratic control of the BBG by a small group of unelected officials who deny Board members critical information and make important decisions affecting national security and public diplomacy. These executives don’t subscribe to the moral principles of international broadcasting and U.S. foreign policy. Their only and favorite solution to budget constraints is to cut critical language programs while leaving the bureaucratic structure untouched."

Festival of Traditional American Music in Russia - cecglobalartlab - [as posted at 1:05 pm, March 7:] "Tonight the musicians played to a packed hall at the St. Petersburg Jazz Philharmonic. About 300-350 people stood or sat wherever they could to listen to Christine Balfa and the other musicians talk about their culture and to play fabulous soulful, exciting music. Music again and again proves its power to connect people across cultural divides. After the music got going for a bit, i [sic] got up with one of the musicians who wasnt [sic] playing at that moment and we started to dance

Then a bunch of others jumped up to dance. Nobody had wanted to be the first pair on the floor but they really wanted to dance. The Consul General Bruce Turner and his wife were dancing up a storm. People were dancing in the balcony, too. ... This is really where the strength of American culture lies to reach people and build bridges: in the expression of tradiitional [sic] culture delivered from the heart by vital and talented artists. I’m really proud to have played a role as curator of the lineup of artists, along with theinitiative [sic] and support American Embassy in Moscow, and the masterful production of the tour in Russia of CEC Artslink in making this happen.- Theadocia Austen, Public Events Coordinator ,  [sic] American Folklife Center, Library of Congress" Image from entry: Jefferey Broussard et ses amis at the St. Petersburg Jazz Philharmonic, photo by Dmitry Konradt

The Public Diplomacy Aspect of the Iranian Oscar Win - Javad Rad, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The public diplomacy strength of Iranian cinema is not similar to that of Hollywood. It hardly attempts to depict perfect lives with happy endings. Unlike Hollywood, which is mostly about the 'American dream,' the best of the Iranian cinema has come to be about all human beings, the universality of their characters and values."

Chinese diplomacy in postmodern age needs individuals - Zhang Haizhou, "Public diplomacy can only be true if we have more ordinary people involved. It can also be more effective than official diplomacy, particularly when promoting China's soft power and improving its image abroad."

Haifa U offering students new elective in ‘hasbara’ - Max Schindler, Jerusalem Post: "A new course elective at the University of Haifa aims to equip students with online hasbara tools to fight the increasing delegitimization of Israel. Entitled 'Ambassadors Online,' the spring semester class – the first of its kind – will explore international news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and attempt to rectify alleged media bias. Though it does not offer university credit, the course will teach students about the main issues behind Israel’s delegitimization. ... The syllabus for 'Ambassadors Online' will concentrate on identifying what constitutes hostile or non-objective reporting. ... The students will participate in writing Wikipedia entries, publicizing hasbara (public diplomacy) talking points and confronting anti-Israel activists in online chat rooms. The class will also host workshops on news articles to outline bias and propose alternative narratives. ... 'Ambassadors Online will invite speakers from the Foreign Ministry and the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry to discuss ways students can utilize online platforms to convey a pro-Israel message. ... [Course organizer David] Gurevich [said] ... 'What we are doing is public diplomacy and having a dialogue with people abroad who misjudge Israel. We’re answering claims of defamation and delegitimization, people who do not recognize Israel’s right to exist as a democratic Jewish state.'”

Web 2.0 - The way your Business Are able to use It - "Web 2.0 has stretched to public diplomacy, in a way. The Israeli government's public diplomacy features a blog, MySpace and Facebook pages, along with video blogs. Although a little example, expect other governments or diplomacies to start implementing blogs or social media sites onto their Sites. Perhaps the simplest way to utilize the capabilities of Web 2.0 is via blogging."

Combating the Hate Groups on Campus - Mark Tapson, "To counter the hate, disinformation and propaganda generated during Israeli Apartheid Week (what should more honestly be called Israeli Demonization Week) at universities across the United States, the David Horowitz Freedom Center (DHFC) is arming pro-Israel and pro-freedom student leaders on campus with the truth, in the form of its newspaper ads, pamphlets, film screenings, and speakers such as Nonie Darwish, Raymond Ibrahim, David Meir-Levi, and Horowitz himself.

A controversial DHFC ad appeared last week in the campus newspapers of Florida State University and the University of Arizona, and the Freedom Center has plans to place it in at least one hundred more. Entitled 'Where Are They Now?,' it consists simply of a long list of nearly twenty former leaders and members of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) who have graduated to terrorist entities such as al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Among them are such standouts of Islamic terrorism as 'bin Laden 2.0' Anwar al-Awlaki (former MSA President at Colorado State University); American al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn (member of the MSA at the University of Southern California); the infamous Underwear Bomber (former head of the Muslim Association at the University College London); convicted terrorist supporter Abdul Rahman Alamoudi (former MSA National President); Ramy Zamzam, convicted of attempting to join the Taliban and kill U.S. troops (former president of Washington D.C.’s council of Muslim associations); Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas associate Jamal Barzini (co-founder of the MSA); Abu Mansoor al-Amriki (MSA President of the University of South Alabama), spokesman for al-Qaeda in Somalia; and more. The list speaks for itself as ample evidence that the MSA has less to do with serving student needs than recruiting for violent jihad. A shorter version of that ad recently stirred up controversy on the campus of Ohio State University, where it was condemned as hate speech by a Muslim student who nevertheless could not contradict the factuality of the ad’s content, and who ironically has her own connections to Muslim Brotherhood entities CAIR and Hamas. She lashed out at The Lantern, the student paper that published the ad, but a faculty adviser for The Lantern said the newspaper 'can reject advertising that denigrates individuals, groups or organizations based on such things as race, nationality, ethnicity and religion.'” Image from article

A Catholic Writer’s Propaganda For Iran - Joseph Hippolito, "During World War II, a renowned American poet broadcast pro-Fascist propaganda from Mussolini’s Italy. Seven decades after Ezra Pound, a respected Catholic writer is following Pound’s example.

Mark Shea is an author and commentator for the National Catholic Register, a conservative newspaper owned by the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). His personal blog, [Catholic and Enjoying it,'] is one of’s five nominees for the Catholicism Readers’ Choice Awards 2012. Shea passionately opposes American military action against Iran."

Faces of Israel - Letter to the Editor, Irish Times: "Sir, – You quote Israel’s minister of public diplomacy (ie propaganda) Yuli Edelstein as mentioning 'certain artists and writers in this country who say, ‘We don’t want to have Israeli culture here, we don’t want to have Israeli representatives’,' (Home News, February 29th). Mr Edelstein is deliberately conflating, for propaganda purposes, two separate issues. Those who call for a cultural boycott of the Israeli state do not seek to boycott Israeli artists, only the sponsorship of those artists by the Israeli state, in which case they are indeed seen as 'representatives' of Israel, an apartheid state massively in violation of international law and international humanitarian law. There is no call for a boycott of Israeli culture per se, only Israeli barbarism. Mr Edelstein says boycotting should be 'the last resort, when you are dealing with a terrible dictatorship that is oppressing its own people'. The Israeli state is oppressing another people: the Palestinians under its criminal occupation. It also oppresses 'its own people': just ask those second-class Palestinian citizens of Israel or residents of Jerusalem who have seen their homes demolished for the third or fourth times or who are prevented from reuniting their families by Israel’s racist laws. Mr Edelstein objects to 'the language of boycotts' between 'two democracies': but Israel is a democracy only for its Jewish citizens, and hence an apartheid state. Once Israel becomes a democracy, ie the state of all its citizens, and ends its criminal occupation of the Palestinian territories, there will be no further call for a cultural boycott. – Yours, etc, RAYMOND DEANE, Cultural Liaison Officer, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Dame Street, Dublin 2."

Faces of Israel - Letter to the Editor, Irish Times: Sir, – "It is disappointing your article (Home News, February 29th) did not look behind the benign public image of the 'Faces of Israel' project. Hasbara is the Israeli state propaganda mechanism by which the Israeli foreign affairs ministry, in partnership with various other government and non-government, bodies, seeks to counter any criticism of Israel and its actions. 'Faces of Israel' is an Hasbara Fellowship initiative, the stated aim of which is, 'to train and motivate university students to be passionate dedicated and effective pro Israel advocates'. The promoter of the Hasbara Fellowship is Aish International, an offshoot of Aish HaTorah, an Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva organization which has links with many of the most aggressive settler groups who are the front line troops in the campaign of relentless colonisation by settlement of Palestine. I suggest it would have informed readers more comprehensively if The Irish Times had been a little more investigative, and a lot less naïve, in its journalism, when reporting of this latest Israeli charm offensive. – Yours, etc, PAUL KELLY, Royal Canal Terrace, Broadstone, Dublin 7."

Nation enjoys first-class ties, says deputy minister - "Diplomatic relations between Malaysia and other countries, especially among Asean member countries, remain ‘a first-class bilateral relationship’, says Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem. He said albeit some misunderstandings on certain issues, Malaysia and Indonesia too continued to enjoy warm and cordial relations. Riot said misunderstandings were more on issues created by the people, not the doings of respective governments. 'As far as Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta are concerned, there has been no dispute over any issue between the two countries,' he told a press conference after the launch of the ministry’s 'Outreach and Public Diplomacy Programme' here yesterday. Diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Indonesia began soon after Malaysia gained its independence on Aug 31, 1957." See also.

BBC Media Action, ex-BBC World Service Trust, launches new website and blog (updated) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

A day in the life of a EU fellow in Southern California - A European in LA: "Today, I have been asked to prepare a lecture for the students of the Master in Public Diplomacy. The course is on European Public Diplomacy and is taught by Professor Mai’a Cross. I always sit in her class in order to reply to specific questions on the

work of the European Institutions and discuss about European current affairs. The students come from all over the world. I am always so happy to see the level of interest they have in the EU. But back to my presentation: I have to deal with the power of individuals in public diplomacy and my analysis is about Italy’s case. The lecture discusses how personalities influence positively and negatively the image of their country in the European context.

I use the examples of Altiero Spinelli and Silvio Berlusconi. Guess who was the one doing well for Italy…" Berluconi image from entry; Texas long Horns image from; on "cornuto" in Italian culture, see Wikipedia.

Metzgar to present at ISA conference - "[Indiana University] Assistant professor Emily Metzgar will attend the International Studies Association annual conference in San Diego in early April. She will present two papers: 'Global Internet Freedom, Arab Spring and U.S. Foreign Policy,' and 'Building a Public Diplomacy Network: One JET at a Time.'

She also will serve as discussant for a panel titled 'Public Diplomacy 2.0' and will parti cipate in an ISA pre-conference workshop titled 'New Media & Foreign Policy.'" Metzgar image from entry

Cross-Border Higher Education: a Complicated Mix of Players - Jason Lane and Kevin Kinser, "[E]ducation providers are motivated by a combination of status-seeking behavior, expectation of revenue enhancement or diversification, and the desire to internationalize the institutional culture. ... As a result, in most locations we see a wide range of motives and contradictory behaviors emerging from a mélange of actors. For example: A government sets up a policy environment to encourage foreign providers to enter with the intent of bolstering an emerging knowledge economy. Private companies in the host country lure mid-tier foreign universities with incentives to establish educational outposts in order to boost the value of nearby real estate. The foreign provider is tempted by the prospect of additional revenue and flattered by the attention. And the home government expects the international partnership that develops will be a vehicle of goodwill and public diplomacy. When it works, the involvement of such multiple actors can provide a sustainable platform for branch-campus development. But when the goals or interests of one party shift, the entire enterprise can quickly crumble."

Gastrodiplomacy Finals - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "A Master's student at Tufts named Sam Chapple-Sokol just sent me his excellent term paper on gastrodiplomacy. Worth a read, he takes a really brilliant look at culinary diplomacy and its evolution. Prof. Rockower gives it an A+. Also, another A paper that I forgot to post last semester is a term paper by Tulawe Vesikula, who interviewed me about public diplomacy and communication strategy."


Why Are We Still in Afghanistan? - Doug Bandow, American Spectator: The U.S. and its allies entered Afghanistan to fight terrorism. That job has been completed. Al Qaeda is a wreck and its remnant operates elsewhere, including next door in Pakistan. Afghanistan has become irrelevant to protecting Americans from terrorist attack.Remaking Afghan society is a hopeless task. Social engineering is hard enough at home. Doing so abroad is far more difficult, especially when many Afghans are ready to kill when offended by those who believe differently than them.

The problem runs far deeper than the loss of mutual trust between Afghans and allies, as some observers suggest. Afghan society may -- and hopefully will -- eventually evolve in a more humane direction, but it will do so on Afghanistan's, not America's, schedule. Image from article

Iran OKs talks on nuclear program-Agrees to allow U.N. inspectors - Ashish Kumar Sen-The Washington Times: Crippling economic sanctions and tough talk of military strikes on its nuclear sites likely have prodded Iran to resume talks with the international community over its secretive nuclear program. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the U.S., Britain, Russia, France and China - and Germany, which are collaborating in an effort to persuade Iran to freeze all uranium enrichment, accepted Tehran’s offer Tuesday to restart talks.

Speaker Urges West to Give Up US Policy of Pressuring Iran - FNA- Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani on Wednesday underlined the ineffectiveness of the West's pressures on Iran, and called on the European states to avoid following the US and Israel's hostile policies towards Iran.

Addressing an economic conference at Iran's National Defense College, Larijani pointed to the West-driven anti-Iran pressures and propaganda in the region and over the country's peaceful nuclear program, and noted, "These claims and stances are not welcomed by the Muslim states in the region." Image (evidently of Larujani) from article

The Propaganda Parade: Iran Revises Marie Colvin's Death; Syria's Media Cares About Censorship - John Hudson, It's been a big week of news for Russia, Iran, and Syria, which means their propaganda mills have been working overtime.

Here's a look at what they've been spinning in today's installment of Propaganda Parade: Iranian Media Revises How US journalist Marie Colvin Died. Russian TV Dismisses Anti-Putin Protesters. Russian TV Dismisses Anti-Putin Protesters. Colvin image from article

The Iranian Threat Back to News: Perceptions and Gamesmanship in Israel, Iran and the U.S. - George Friedman, An Iranian media report of a pipeline explosion in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province on March 1 served as a reminder of the impact that instability in Iran’s neighborhood can have on world oil markets. By extension, the event showed the impact Iranian propaganda efforts can have in deterring a military attack.

The legal case against attacking Iran: A preemptive strike against Iran would violate both U.S. and international law - Bruce Ackerman, American support for a preemptive strike would be a violation of both international law and the U.S. Constitution. If President Obama supports Netanyahu's preemptive strike, he will transform Bush's Iraq aberration into the founding precedent of a new era of international law. He should instead reaffirm Reagan's position in 1981 and return the presidency to its traditional commitments to international law abroad and constitutional fidelity at home.

The claim that a fire had broken out near a pipeline between Awamiya and Shabwa appears to have emanated from an Eastern Province-based Saudi Shiite Facebook group. The group posted pictures purportedly portraying a blaze near a pipeline. The report was picked up by Iranian media outlet PressTV more than four hours later and spread from there. There was no independent confirmation of a purported attack, and all indications so far point to this being another propaganda move by Iran to shake the markets. Image from article

Israel’s Best Friend - Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times: The last thing Israel or American friends of Israel -- Jewish and Christian -- want is to give their enemies a chance to claim that Israel is using its political clout to embroil America in a war that is not in its interest.If it comes to war, let it be because the ayatollahs were ready to sacrifice their whole economy to get a nuke and, therefore, America --  the only country that can truly take down Iran’s nuclear program --  had to act to protect the global system, not just Israel.

Syria's 'propaganda war' on Homs: Narrative on state media stands in stark contrast to reports from activists and foreign media on the ground - The Syrian government has allegedly tried to cover-up evidence of war crimes after its almost month-long bombardment of an opposition-controlled district in Homs by clearing out bodies of civilian casualties and through a media propaganda campaign. The country's state TV channel has accused international journalists, including British photographer Paul Conroy who reported on the "military's massacre" of civilians in Bab Amr after he fled the district, of being part of an international conspiracy to undermine the government. Al Jazeera's Laurence Lee reports on how the media is one of the government's main tools to maintain popularity as it violently attempts to crush the year-long uprising.

America Is Stuck With the Mideast: Global oil markets and global commerce mean that American presidents will simply not be able to set this region off to the side - Walter Russell Mead, Wall Street Journal: America's interests in the Middle East remain simple and in relatively good shape. The U.S. wants a balance of power in the region that prevents any power or coalition of powers inside or outside the region from being able to block the flow of oil to world markets by military means. It wants Israel to be secure.

And in the middle to long term, it hopes to see the establishment of stable, democratic governments that can foster economic growth and peace. For now at least, the past looks like a good predictor for the next phase of American engagement with the Middle East. Often hated, rarely loved, the U.S. remains indispensable to the region's balance of power and to the security of the vulnerable oil-producing states on the Gulf. There are many people in the Middle East who would like the U.S. to bow out of the region, and there are many people in the U.S. who would like very much to leave. For now, both groups must learn to accept disappointment. Image from article

Vietnam jails two dissidents for propaganda: report -- A court in Vietnam has jailed two activists for spreading anti-government propaganda produced by a prominent dissident priest, state media said Wednesday -

“Armenian Propaganda Machine Accepts Defeat” - It is not accidental that for several months the Armenian propaganda machine has been attempting to attribute to the security problem its hesitation regarding participation in Eurovision, it has been claiming that there is no guarantee for security of the delegation, media representatives, citizens. But these claims were reduced to zero by the Azerbaijani government and the European Broadcasting Union, both sides said the security of all delegations and everyone who will come to Baku to watch the contest will be fully ensured.

After it became known that a record number of countries will participate in Eurovision 2012, the security claims of the Armenian propaganda machine failed, though Armenian Public Television postponed the announcement of the final decision, in the end they were obliged to say that they would participate in the contest. Image from article

Once more about the Numbers - Garry Kasparov, Today, Orwellian language has officially become an integral part of Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine. In this perverted dictatorial lounge, a peaceful civilian demonstration is called a “provocation,” while OMON riot police brutally beating protesters is just called “maintaining order.” Putin classifies the demand for free and fair elections as an attempt to usurp power, while his own special operation to establish a personal life-long dictatorship is a means of saving the country. So it’s no surprise that these elections, which have been celebrated as the fairest and cleanest ever, were accompanied by the highest ever number of falsifications in contemporary Russian history.

Human rights activist Yana Palyakova’s death anniversary - Human rights activist Yana Palyakova was driven to suicide in March 2009. A wide range of cruel and mean methods was used against the young woman. She went through arrests, tortures, criminal prosecution, moral terror and a baiting campaign by “Sovetskaya Belorussia”, Belarus’s largest newspaper and a propaganda tool of Lukashenka’s administration.

Lawyer Yana Palyakova was an activist of “Legal assistance to people” group, cooperated with other human rights organizations and was a member of the initiative team of Volha Kazulina (the daughter of a famous opposition politician) at the 2008 parliamentary election. Palyakova image from article

Mao's way: Chinese propaganda posters – in pictures - Move the Mountain is an exhibition of original Chinese propaganda posters from 1969-1979. The communist posters depict scenes ranging from young Chinese people holding up copies of Mao's Little Red Book to soldiers fighting cartoonish capitalist monsters.

This is the first time these works have been exhibited in the UK. At Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester from 9 March to 7 April 2012. Image from entry

Operation Cornflakes: How The Allies Got The Nazi Postal Service To Deliver Their Prop[a]ganda For Them  - On February 5, 1945, with World War II in its last desperate months, a German train made its way to the city of Linz. Suddenly, Allied planes swooped in, dropping bombs and derailing it. As the train’s cargo -- mail bound for several northern Austrian towns -- scattered over the area, a second wave of bombers flew in with a strange payload. Eight mail bags hit the ground around the train with a thud. Inside each bag were 800 propaganda letters, all addressed to homes and businesses along the train’s route and appropriately stamped. When the train was discovered, German postal workers recovered the bags and delivered the letters without being any wiser about their contents or origins. Propaganda was a favorite tool of the Office of Strategic Services during the war, but the usual method of distributing it, airdropped leaflets, had major drawbacks. Huge numbers of leaflets had to be produced to increase the chances that those who were supposed to see them actually would. Even with enough materials, heavy winds, rain, or Nazi knowledge of a planned drop could result in diversion or destruction of the leaflets before they reached their audience. There had to be a way to remove the variables and the risk from the operation and hand the propaganda right to the Germans. Eventually, they hit upon the idea of using the German postal service itself as a distribution system.
They’d make their materials look like legitimate German mail, leave it around bombed trains, and let the enemy collect and deliver it. The German government would wind up bringing the Allies’ propaganda right to its own citizens every day. What’s more, the plan had the added benefit of straining the already overworked and chaotic German communications and transportation sectors. Operation Cornflakes (named so because the subversive mail was usually delivered just as its targets sat down for breakfast) had many advantages over simple airdrops, but required a lot of legwork to get off the ground. The inner workings of the German mail system had to be learned, so POWs who had been postal workers were interrogated about everything from postal cancellation markings to the ways mail bags were supposed to be packed and sealed. Spies and sympathizers gathered samples of stamps, postal cancellations, mail sacks, and envelopes while OSS staff pulled names and addresses from German telephone directories. Image from article

Elaine Pagels’s ‘Revelations’: Tracing reinterpretations of the Apocalypse - reviewed by Ron Charles, Washington Post: Without openly contradicting anyone’s faith in divine writ, Pagels emphasizes that the Book of Revelation was written at a particular time and place: a small island off the coast of Turkey, probably around 90 C.E. after the Romans had burned down the Great Temple and left Jerusalem in ruins. “We begin to understand what he wrote,” she

says, “only when we see that his book is wartime literature.” In other words, much of the fiery destruction portrayed early in John’s narrative is not so much prophetic as historical, a florid depiction of the incomprehensible horrors that had left Jews stunned, scattered and frightened. In the wake of Rome’s brutal repression and the flourishing of its empire, John wrote cryptic “anti-Roman propaganda that drew its imagery from Israel’s prophetic traditions.” His “Revelation,” then, was a way of acknowledging recent defeats while knitting them neatly into a narrative of future victory. Image from article


--From: "BREAKING HAIRDO NEWS FLASH OMG: Callista Gingrich Has Ever-So-Slightly Modified Her Platinum Space Helmet," Princess Sparkle Pony's Photoblog

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