Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28

"The United States has too many people to have a draft."

--Elliot J. Feldman, "Our all-volunteer military should stay that way," Washington Post; image from


Emily T. Metzgar, Promoting Japan: One JET at a Time (Los Angeles: Figueroa Press, March 2012).  See also.


Pakistan urges US to respect parliament’s decisions - "Grossman [Ambassador Marc Grossman, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed with the prime minister [Yousaf Raza Gilani] that it was of fundamental importance to build a partnership based on mutual respect and mutual interests including respect for territorial integrity of both the countries. He agreed that partnership with Pakistan was critically important to establish peace and security in the region. He further said there was a dire need to improve perception about each other through public diplomacy."

Photo of the Week: Behind the Scenes With Under SecretarySonenshine – Hannah Johnson, DipNote:  This week's ‘Photo of the Week’ comes to us from Foreign Service Officer Ben Chang and shows Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine as she prepares for her swearing-in ceremony with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. on April 24, 2012. At her swearing-in ceremony, Under Secretary Sonenshine said, ‘Policy is about people. Without a deeper understanding of foreign publics, our policies are just flying blind. We can't depend only on conversations with political leaders. We have to connect with people, and let them know we are listening, we care, and we are working to support them. We have to be texting, blogging, tweeting, and connecting face-to-face -- to empower young people, women and girls, and minorities, engaging to change the minds of extremists who spread misinformation and hatred online, reaching out to make sure our narrative is as robust as the character of our nation. If we enlist public diplomacy effectively, we can enlist the problem solvers and leaders of tomorrow.’  On May 3, Under Secretary Sonenshine will travel to Beijing, China to serve as co-coordinator of the third annual U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) with Chinese Vice Minister of Education Hao Ping.

The CPE aims to promote and strengthen people-to-people ties between the United States and China in the fields of education, culture, science and technology, sports, and women's issues. It provides a high-level annual forum for government and private-sector representatives to discuss cooperation in a broad, strategic manner. As the new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Tara Sonenshine will serve as the Department's senior public diplomacy official, overseeing the bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs, and participates in foreign policy development. As Under Secretary, she leads America's public diplomacy outreach, which includes communications with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, educational exchanges, international visitor programs, and U.S. Government efforts to confront ideological support for terrorism. You can view more photos from Under Secretary Sonenshine's swearing-in ceremony on Flickr, and you can follow @TSonenshine on Twitter for more on U.S. public diplomacy.” Via DS on twitter

Thank you, Mom – Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: “If you have not seen the Proctor and Gamble marketing campaign entitled ‘Thank you, Mom’, you really should. An Olympic Partner for London 2012, the campaign will run for these last 100 days before the start of the summer games.  It is the largest campaign in P&G’s 174-year history. The campaign launched with the digital release of the short film “Best Job,” a moving celebration of mom’s raising great kids and Olympians, according to a press release.

The video was shot on four continents with local actors and athletes from each location — London, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles and Beijing — and will be found online, across social media, TV, and print.  How might the State Department produce similar vignettes that could translate policy initiatives including women’s issues, empowering young people, and other democracy and civil society issues? The Bureau of International Information Programs has both the technical capacity, including a HD studio and post production suite, and the creative capacity. Madison Avenue agencies (both literal and figurative) would be willing to help, as private discussions have raised and previous efforts demonstrate. This partnership would not be unusual as there is established, if perhaps forgotten, precedent that extends at least to 1951, before the USIA was established, in the form of both formal and informal advisory relationships. Such cross-cultural outreach like this P and G campaign that supports and praises moms would likely enjoy the support of senior leadership in DC and the field. It would likely have traction with Ambassador moms and Ambassador wives. The vignettes would have a ready audience to the growing number of Facebook friends of the various State Department sites, many of which need content.”

US diplomat and author discusses US international broadcasting and its competition - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: Elliott comment on Peter Van Buren interview in Huffington Post: "In English-language global television, the real US competitor to the Xinhua, RT, Al Jazeera, and BBC mentioned by Mr. Van Buren is not any BBG entity, but CNN International, which he did not discuss."

Television program beamed into Iran criticizes US Iran policy, and VOA, too - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Sri Lanka courting the 'wrong woman' in Washington power center on 'accountability-human rights' issue - Daya Gamage, Asian Tribune: "If Clinton is Obama's top diplomat dealing with foreign nations on critical issues that engulf the American nation and her interests using public affairs, public diplomacy and strategic communication occasionally touching Sri Lanka's human rights, accountability and transparency issues, Samantha Power is President Obama's

'point person' who monitors, investigates, researches and establishes policy planks on human rights, genocide, war crimes, international humanitarian law (IHL) for the administration's specific understanding. ... To miss this woman means missing a basic point in public diplomacy and strategic communication. Sri Lanka cannot afford this misstep at a time she had faced an ignominious defeat in Geneva in March at the UN Human Rights Commission, and when there is news leaking, to this Asian Tribune network, that a resolution against Sri Lanka is in the offing at the next UN General Assembly Session. And, the most influential and active pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora with many EU nations are ganging against Sri Lanka for an 'international' scrutiny possibly in The Hague." Image from article, with caption: Samantha Power with President Obama at White House' Oval Office

The pro-separatist lobby overseas and diplomacy - Srinath Fernando, "With the decimation of the LTTE military wing, there is a clear convergence of forces lined up against Sri Lanka. Now the war on the battlefront is over and we need to wage a Public Diplomacy (PD) war on the international front, which is complimentary to official diplomacy. The Foreign Ministry needs to harness the skills of experts in this field. This is a new phenomenon to Sri Lanka. Israel seems to be the only country with expertise in mobilising public opinion and PD programs through various Jewish Diaspora organisations. Israel has the professional touch in political lobbying which is unparalleled in world history. The upshot: The creation of the State of Israel and the dismantling of Saddam’s regime with 5,500 battle tanks to overwhelm Israel. ... It is estimated that 25% of Sri Lankan Tamils are now domiciled overseas. The Tamil Diaspora had already made mammoth strides in lobbying governments all over the world and they have even gone ahead with the establishment of the Provisional Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (PTGTE). It would be a mistake to lose sight of the fact that the Tamil intellectuals and internationally recognised ‘non-Tamil’ university professors with international repute too had been mobilised at the time the Advisory Committee on the formation of PTGTE was formed. The trend that is set overseas by the pro-separatist lobby is a force to be reckoned with for small groups of Sri Lankans who have not been properly guided or assisted in countering the adverse propaganda disseminated by pro-separatist lobby. ... PD is a public relations effort aimed at areas where official diplomacy is minimal or absent and this should be carried out in conjunction with official diplomacy. We need to exploit every available opportunity to demystify adverse propaganda through international print and electronic media as well as organising cultural and educational events overseas and by closely monitoring the activities of pro-separatist lobby."

Diplomacy flowers with cherry blossoms: At the close of the 100th anniversary celebration of Tokyo's gift of cherry blossoms to Washington, it's worth remembering the story of diplomacy behind the trees. Like most diplomatic initiatives, this one had to overcome indifference, opposition, and many setbacks before it could flower - Kumi Yokoe, Christian Science Monitor: "A century has passed since Tokyo presented 3,000 cherry trees to Washington, D.C. That gift has blossomed into a remarkable public diplomacy success – worth remembering as the National Cherry Blossom Festival draws to a close."

Image from article, with caption: Yoriko Fujisaki, (l) wife of the ambassador of Japan to the United States, and First Lady Michelle Obama (r) commemorate the centennial anniversary of the 1912 gift of cherry blossom trees from the city of Tokyo to Washington, D.C. by planting a cherry blossom tree near the Tidal Basin March 27.

GE: The Consumptive Indonesian is Good for Business - "Indonesia consumed more than it could produce, but the consumption itself could drive economy positively, the CEO of General Electric for Indonesia, Handry Satriago, said before young local-foreign diplomats in the event ‘Indonesian Economy Outlook 2012’ held by Indonesian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. ... This event was aimed to give the information about Indonesia to the young diplomats, Azis Nur Wahyudi, the Functional Official of Directorate of Public Diplomacy in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said on Thursday night. The event could also create a network among the diplomats. 'The event hopefully can draw more investment to Indonesia,' he said."

Amnesty International Leader to Speak at Humphrey School - Sherry Gray, "The Humphrey School of Public Affairs announced today that it will host Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, as the keynote speaker at the School's commencement ceremony. ... Nossel became of executive director at Amnesty International USA in January of 2012. Before that, she worked for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for international organizations, and was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women's issues, public diplomacy, press, and Congressional relations. ... Nossel is the author of the 2004 article in Foreign Affairs magazine that coined the term 'Smart Power,' which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made a defining feature of U.S. foreign policy."


Free the torture report: The American people have a right to know how 'enhanced interrogation' practices became U.S. policy and whether they produced useful information - Editorial, During his confirmation process, CIA Director David H. Petraeus

told the Senate Intelligence Committee that "a holistic and comprehensive review of the U.S. government's detention and interrogation programs can lead to valuable lessons that might inform future policies." Policymakers shouldn't be the only ones to have the advantage of those lessons; so should the public. Petraeus image from article.

How Osama bin Laden is winning, even in death - David Ignatius, Washington Post: In the year since Osama bin Laden’s death, it has been a comforting thought for Westerners to say that he failed. And that’s certainly true in terms of al-Qaeda, whose scorched-earth jihad tactics alienated Muslims along with everyone else. But in terms of bin Laden’s broader goal of moving the Islamic world away from Western influence, he has done better than we might like to think. His movement is largely destroyed, but his passion for a purer and more Islamic government in the Arab world is partly succeeding. In that sense, the West shouldn’t be too quick to claim victory.

Secret Service imposes new rules on agents for foreign trips - David Nakamura and Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post: The U.S. Secret Service imposed new rules Friday aimed at tightening oversight of its employees on international trips in the wake of the Colombia prostitution scandal — banning staff members from bringing foreigners into their hotel rooms, drinking alcohol within 10 hours of duty and visiting “non-reputable establishments.” Next week, the Secret Service will hold an ethics training session for more than 100 employees, and several more mandatory courses will be scheduled through the year, agency officials told members of Congress. The agency said it hoped to put all of its 3,500 agents and 1,400 uniformed officers through the training seminars. In the memo, the agency said employees “are expected to always conduct yourselves in a manner that reflects credit on you, the Secret Service, the Department of Homeland Security, and — most importantly — the United States Government and the citizens that we serve.”

Cricket, schools, Facebook: the Taliban's new PR drive: The Taliban are becoming increasingly savvy in using the internet to gain supporters Continue reading the main story: The BBC World Service's Dawood Azami examines the Taliban's latest propaganda offensive - BBC: From civilian casualties, to girls' schools, to cricket, the Taliban website's new question and answer section provides answers to a wide range of readers' questions.

Image from article

Has the Taliban fallen on tough times? - Sohel Uddin, NBC: It has not been a good month for the Taliban. Thursday night, the organization's El Emara website was hacked twice, causing much humiliation, with the hackers substituting propaganda with photographs of Taliban atrocities and pro-Afghan government and coalition slogans.

The hack was only one of a series of recent events suggesting the militant group has fallen on tough times or even reached a crisis point. The Taliban blamed intelligence agencies that it said were worried about the strength of their messages. "It [the group's website] was hacked again by enemies and foreign intelligence services," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said. "The enemy tries to push its propaganda. The enemy is worried by what gets published in our webpage. It's confusing for them, so they try to react." Image from article, with caption: Former Taliban fighters display their weapons as they join Afghan government forces during a ceremony in Herat province Thursday.

Concerns over anti-government propaganda in Afghan mosques - Sadaf Shinwari, The Ministry of Haj and Religious Affairs of Afghanistan has warned all the Mullah Imams of mosques in Afghanistan to prevent propagandas and statements which are against

the national interest of Afghanistan. The officials also warned to introduce those individuals to security institutions if they continued to their propagandas. Deputy of the Afghan Haj and Religious Affairs Ministry Abdul Haq Abid said statements which are against the against the national interest of Afghanistan inside the mosques are unjustifiable. Image from article

Atomitat House used in 1966 propaganda film - Doug McDonough, Plainview’s (Texas) Atomitat House already was garnering national attention in 1966, but it went international in early 1967 thanks to the U.S. Information Agency. And that foreign audience was truly unique — the Arabic-speaking countries of the Middle East. The film crew’s visit to the local subterranean residence — and some of the problems they encountered trying to get six minutes of usable footage — was chronicled by Herald reporter David Bryant in an article printed on Dec. 11, 1966. Jay Swayze built the unusual residence at 2906 W. 20th in 1961-62 during the darkest days of the Cold War, and it was the first underground home to meet U.S. Civil Defense specifications as a nuclear shelter.

The 3,400 square-foot structure, complete with four bedrooms and three baths inside a steel-reinforced concrete shell, is buried 13 feet underground. Swayze used it as a showplace for two years before he and his family took up residence there. Footage from the film crew’s visit to Plainview was incorporated into a 15-minute program entitled “Ikhtartu Lakum” — “I Have Chosen For You.” The American propaganda film was shot and produced by the U.S. Information Agency’s Motion Picture-Television Service. It was part of a series of programs shown on TV stations in Arabic-speaking countries that was designed to show scenes of American life. The targeted audience for the film was television viewers in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Aden and possibly Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria. The program was never designed to be shown to American viewers. Image from article

Franklin students learn about Holocaust, create their own 'museum' - Meg Dickinson, If the propaganda Nazis used in Germany existed in the U.S. today, it might take the form of ads disparaging blacks and encouraging people to burn down their houses. And if eighth-grade boys lived in Nazi Germany, rather than the modern-day United States, they'd have to be members of the

Hitler Youth and go on to join the Nazi party. Franklin Middle School's 200 eighth graders learned and presented these facts, and many more, when they created their own Holocaust Museum on Thursday at the school. It's the fifth year for the Illinois school's museum. Image from article

Propaganda of Nazism with its complete exposure - Dmitry Zuyev, Voice of Russia: The news that came from Bavaria is in the focus of many mass media. There is a legal clash coming up that concerns the entire world. On January 1, 2016 the notorious book "Mein Kampf" written by Hitler is scheduled to enter the public domain. For now the government of Bavaria has the exclusive right to the book. As far as Russia goes, in the early 1930s "Mein Kampf" was published as a limited edition for "official use" translated by Karl Radek. Radek was a very notable figure – even in the Bolsheviks serpentarium of those years he was considered to be a person completely deprived of any morals, an informer and a provocateur. Between 1992 and 2002 the same translation had four publications in Russia and one in Ukraine.

The Federal Law of 2002 "On the counteraction against extremist activity" prohibited publications of the works of the National-socialist leaders'. The final clarification was made by the decision of the Kirov district court of the city of Ufa in 2010. Since then the ban on «Mein Kampf» has been legally in action and it concerns specifically that book and not some indefinite list of books. The amazing fact is that in Russia "Mein Kampf" was published as nationalist literature. It attracts the most extreme segments of the Russian nationalists. Besides the screaming anti-Semitism Hitler's book is full of arguments about the inferiority of the Russians that is very insulting. If you look for Russia-phobia, it is there. And most importantly, in that book Hitler refuses to attack the South (Italy) and the West (Great Britain) in favor of moving East. It proclaims that the main goal of the Germans is conquering the territory in the East as well as enslaving the Russian nation after its partial extermination (along with the Jews and the Gypsies who were to be exterminated completely). There are some strange nationalists in Russia. Image from article

Tracing The Divides In The War 'To End All Wars' - The human cost of World War I was enormous. More than 9 million soldiers and an estimated 12 million civilians died in the four-year-long conflict, which also left 21 million military men wounded. "Many of them were missing arms, legs, hands, genitals or driven mad by shell shock," says historian Adam Hochschild. "But there was also a human cost in a larger sense, in that I think the war remade the world for the worse in every conceivable way: It ignited the Russian Revolution, it laid the ground for Nazism and it made World War II almost certain. It's pretty hard to imagine the second world war without the first." Hochschild traces the patriotic fervor that catapulted Great Britain into war during the summer of 1914 — as well as the small, but determined British pacifist movement — in his historical narrative To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. The book frames the Great War not as a struggle between nations but as a struggle between individual people — sometimes even family members — who supported and opposed the war. Hochschild also writes about the huge propaganda campaign in Britain to engage the civilian population. The government published posters and calendars denouncing the Germans and recruited famous authors — including James Barry, Arthur Conan Doyle, and H.G. Wells — to mention patriotic themes in their works.

"And unknown to the public, the government had deals with publishers where they would agree to buy in advance of a book and pamphlet that was judged to be sufficiently patriotic," he says. "The public just thought they were being published as normal." They also made films after the Battle of the Somme in 1916, when England suffered over 120,000 casualties. The British government released a propaganda film called Battle of the Somme, which Hochschild describes as "one of the earliest and most influential propaganda films of all time." "It was estimated that it was seen by more than half the population in the British Isles," he says. The film was designed to be graphic to make the public closely identify with the British soldiers. "This to me shows one of the terrible things that happens in all wars," says Hochschild. "As the suffering mounts ... there is a powerful need among people at home, among their families, to feel like [the soldiers] are suffering and dying for something worthwhile. And therefore, in a way, showing graphic images of suffering does not usually turn people against a war. In fact, usually it doesn't." Image from article


Talk-show host David Letterman: "Brad Pitt is getting married to Angelina Jolie. You know who's planning the bachelor party? The Secret Service."

Via on RS on facebook


(Loose translation: "I want to hear the three most important words." "Russia without Putin.")

Via OR on facebook


Via DR on facebook

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27

"I warned her to expect bad cellphone reception and rats and urine on the subway."

--Mei Fong, formerly a China correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, currently a lecturer at USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, giving advice to a Chinese student who had won a full scholarship to Columbia; image from


Connecting Dots – Tara, Policies and People - RS Zaharna, Batttles2Bridges: "[T]he full text of  [under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] Tara [Soneshine]’s remarks at her swearing-in ceremony ... includ[es] the great quote: ‘Policy is about people. Without a deeper understanding of foreign publics, our policies are just flying blind’  … What I personally like about Tara’s original quote is the idea that people do matter in  U.S. policy. In U.S. public diplomacy ‘foreign publics’ often seem as abstract as the goal of ‘informing, influencing and engaging.’

However at the people level, it is not that abstract or complex.  When people are negatively affected by U.S. policies, U.S. public diplomacy suffers.  U.S. policies communicate. This was the critical lesson in [Professor Zaharna’s book] Battles to Bridges.  A major failing in the U.S. grand strategy of U.S. public diplomacy was that it tried to separate U.S. communication strategies from U.S. policies. When U.S. public diplomacy failed it was not the policies, but the communication strategies — or those responsible for communicating the policies. Trying to operate in today’s environment using an intransigent, rather than an integrative grand strategy sets the new U.S. public diplomacy head in the same position as her predecessors. If Tara can bring her policy-people message or even the more basic message that ‘Policy communicates’ to U.S. policy makers and begin to integrate public diplomacy into the policy realm, she will have a greater chance of disconnecting the dots that damage U.S.public diplomacy. And, her tenure will likely be stronger and longer.” Sonenshine image from article

Journalists brave attacks, death in much of the world - Gene Policinski, "The U.S. Department of State has launched an online 'Free the Press' campaign, highlighting individual journalists who face government threats worldwide, ranging from imprisonment to house arrest to travel bans. 'Media freedom is oxygen' for societies, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine told a group of international journalists in discussing the campaign. 'It’s the moral equivalent of oxygen – it is how a society breathes, and it is a key pillar of building civil societies.'”

Cultural Diplomacy - Wall Street Journal: "Ellsworth Kelly: 'I wanted to give something to China, as well as the U.S.,' Kelly says of his installation 'Beijing Panels,' which hangs outside the U.S. Embassy in China.

'It's good for our embassies to have great American art. We're all patriotic, and that's why we do this.'" Image (one of 14) from article. Via manIC

Midway Update - PR Fulbright in Poland: "On May 1, I will have been here in Poznań for three months of my 6-month fellowship -- the midway point. I'm not as far along with my research project as I'd hoped, but we've made good progress in the last couple weeks, with the coming few weeks likely to be quite busy with project activities. ... Graduate PR Seminar[:] Also on Tuesday, I met for two hours in a formal seminar with graduate PR students here at the university.

I spoke on the roles of functions of PR in the U.S. and the similarities and differences between U.S. and Polish practice. I also discussed emerging trends and responsibilities for PR such as public diplomacy, crisis communication, issues management, development communication and corporate social responsibility. The students challenged me with some thoughtful questions and clearly have a deep understanding of the nuances and subtleties of contemporary PR practice as well as an appreciation for its theoretical underpinnings." Image from entry, with caption: Exchanging gifts with Poznań University of Economics Rektor Dr. Marian Gorynia

Broadcasting Board of Governors could use strategy lessons from Castro and Chavez -
BBG Watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "If VOA Spanish reductions are now implemented, America’s communication with the 19 Spanish-speaking countries in Central and Latin America would be severely curtailed at a critical time despite some glaring facts affecting U.S. national security."

Image from entry, with caption: Revolution monument in Managua

Using Taxpayer Dollars, BBG Agency Battles Against U.S. Citizen Employees - BBG Watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal agency whose top executives use such terms as 'old white guys' and 'cute high school intern,' is in trouble for discriminating against U.S. citizens."

Old Friends of the Chinese People in Hanover: Wen’s Wonder Weapon --
Angela Merkel and Wen Jiabao opened the Hannover Messe (Hanover Fair) last Sunday (April 22)
- "Wen Jiabao would stay at Kastens Hotel Luisenhof, Hanover’s Neue Presse informed its readers on April 21 (Saturday). There, he would also receive

former chancellors Helmut Schmidt and Gerhard Schröder. Neither of the two had to travel very far – Schmidt lives in Hamburg, and Hanover is Schröder’s home town. ... Even if Chinese public diplomacy doesn’t work too well on the German public yet, Beijing does have a strong asset in place in this country. The Neue Presse frontpage of last week bears testimony to that. Schmidt may not roll over like a pet Panda – but he is doing a great job anyway." Image from article

Just Published: Real Time Diplomacy: Power and Politics in the Social Media Era – CPD Announcement, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "CPD Director Philip Seib’s new book, Real-Time Diplomacy: Politics and Power in the Social Media Era (Palgrave Macmillan) offers

insights into one of the most important challenges of the 21st century: How can policymakers shift away from being mere spectators and address the political realities of a social-media-oriented society?” Via LJB by email. Image from entry

Ad Pioneer Charlotte Beers to Speak at Inforum's 50th Annual Meeting: May 17 Dearborn Event to Celebrate a Half Century of Progress, Focus on What's Next - Inforum, "If your goal is to be an agent for real change, it's good to be the boss. That's the message Charlotte Beers – one of the first female corporate leaders and one of the most influential figures in American advertising – has for American women. Nicknamed ‘the queen of Madison Avenue,’ Beers is the legendary advertising CEO of Ogilvy and Mather and Tatham-Laird and Kudner. She graced the cover of Fortune magazine as one of America's most influential women. From 2001 to 2003, she served as Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the State Department's highest honor. As the keynote speaker at Inforum's historic 50th annual meeting, she will talk about the need for female leadership and why, for their own sakes, women should insist on a place at the table in business, government and other spheres of American life. Getting there, Beers says, requires women to first acknowledge their own potential."


In China, blame for the USC victims: Hateful comments toward two Chinese graduate students killed near the campus spotlight the growing divide between haves and have-nots in China - Mei Fong, Even as many Americans make the mistake of viewing China as a monolithic superpower, the Chinese, too, tend toward one-sided views of America. America the imperialist oppressor; America the violent.

It's a view that Qu's and Wu's tragedy unfortunately reinforces. But there is also another dimension to the Chinese view of America. It is a country many admire as a place of hope and possibilities and opportunity, the land that created Steve Jobs and Jeremy Lin. This is the America that draws ever-growing numbers of Chinese students, who then take home a view of the United States that refutes the stereotypes. Such an exercise of informal diplomacy on a grand scale cannot help but change U.S.-China relations. It may even change the world. Image from article, with caption: USC President C. L. Max Nikias bows before images of victims Ying Wu and Ming Qu before eulogizing the slain engineering students during a memorial service in the Shrine Auditorium. The Chinese students were shot to death while sitting in their parked car near the campus earlier this month.

U.S. Is Seeing Positive Signs From China - Mark Landler and Steven Lee Myers, New York Times: When China suddenly began cutting back its purchases of oil from Iran in the last month, officials in the Obama administration were guardedly optimistic, seeing the move as the latest in a string of encouraging signs from Beijing on sensitive security issues like Syria and North Korea, as well as on politically fraught economic issues like China’s exchange rate. As with so many signals from Beijing, though, its underlying motives for reducing its imports of Iranian oil remain a mystery: Are the Chinese embracing Western sanctions? Or, as some experts suspect, are they trying to extract a better price from one of their main suppliers of crude? The answer is probably a bit of both, according to senior administration officials who acknowledge that they do not know for certain.

Elite Afghan soldier kills U.S. special forces mentor - Ismail Sameem, An elite Afghan soldier shot dead an American mentor and his translator at a U.S. base, Afghan officials said on Friday, in the first rogue shooting blamed on the country's new and closely vetted special forces. At least 18 foreign soldiers have died this year in 11 incidents of so-called green on blue shootings, which are an increasing worry for both NATO and Afghan commanders, eroding trust as Western combat troops look to leave the country in 2014.

The latest shooting will be of grave concern to both sides, at it is the first involving a member of Afghanistan's new special forces, which undergo rigorous vetting as part of their selection into the country's top anti-insurgent force. Image from

Embassy to Nowhere – Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Designed in 2003 as a symbol of America the Conqueror, the Baghdad embassy included buildings for an international school that never opened. A lawn was planted to beautify the embassy, outdoor water-misters installed to cool the air. Even the stark reality of the desert was not allowed to interfere with our plans. Instead, our failure to resolve the demons unleashed by the fall of Saddam crushed us.

U.S. to remove 9,000 Marines from Japanese island of Okinawa - AP, USA Today: About 9,000 U.S. Marines stationed on the Japanese island of Okinawa will be moved to the U.S. territory of Guam and other locations in the Asia-Pacific, including Hawaii, under a U.S.-Japan agreement announced Thursday. The move is part of a broader arrangement designed to tamp down tensions in the U.S.-Japan defense alliance stemming in part from opposition in Okinawa to what many view as a burdensome U.S. military presence.

Give Annan's Syria Plan a Chance - Marc Lynch, Foreign policy: The United States should continue to support these efforts to demilitarize the conflict. It should continue to maintain the hard-won international consensus at the Security Council and push Syria's allies who have supported the current track to pressure Damascus to comply.

It should also continue to support parallel efforts to pressure Assad and to help strengthen the fragmented and weak Syrian opposition. Economic sanctions and the civil war itself have combined to badly hurt the Syrian economy and to increasingly isolate the Syrian elite. Such efforts should continue and expand, with more targeted sanctions at both unilateral and multilateral efforts. Image from

While Syria burns - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post: If we are not prepared to intervene, even indirectly by arming and training Syrians who want to liberate themselves, be candid. And then be quiet. Don’t pretend the U.N. is doing anything. Don’t pretend the U.S. is doing anything. And don’t embarrass the nation with an Atrocities Prevention Board. The tragedies of Rwanda, Darfur and now Syria did not result from lack of information or lack of interagency coordination, but from lack of will.

Leadership rankings for federal agencies: The 20 large federal agencies that got the highest leadership scores in the 2011 Federal Employment Viewpoint Survey - Washington Post: No. 4: Department of State. The Department of State, led by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, received an overall leadership score of 61.0 out of 100, putting it fourth in the rankings.

What the Secret Service could learn from drunken sailors - Roberto Loiederman, Washington Post: "The stereotype of 'spending like a drunken sailor' is true. We sailors prided ourselves on spending our money foolishly.

Working on a ship headed to Latin America was known as a 'romance run' because it would often end up costing us more than we made. But we didn’t care. We’d give a woman whatever she asked for. If the requested price was steep — like, say, $800 — we’d keep enough for the taxi back to the ship and give her whatever we had. I don’t want to romanticize the seedy life of merchant seamen, but if the Secret Service personnel involved [in a prostitution/alcohol scandal in Colombia] in this scandal had played by the same rules and followed the same ethical standards as the drunken sailors I used to work with, there would have been no confrontation, and they might still have their jobs." Image from

TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: English sites back online - Blog Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

China campaigns against extremist publications - Xinhua, Chinese authorities will mount a three-month campaign to crack down on the production and distribution of illegal publications and other forms of propaganda disseminated by the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism. Related government departments should make more efforts to cooperate and share information in order to root out illegal publications, according to a Friday statement issued by the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications. The statement asks relevant authorities, including those in charge of press and publication administration, public security, transportation and industrial and commercial administration, to scrutinize the publication market and conduct thorough investigations into possible violations. Any cases uncovered during the campaign should be reported to the office and the offenders should be punished in accordance with the law, the statement said. A nationwide crackdown on extremist propaganda, referred to as the "Tianshan Project," began in 2009. The crackdown largely concerns maintaining "ideological security" in northwest China and fighting terrorism, extremism and separatism, the statement said. Government authorities should attach great importance to the campaign and make efforts to ensure national stability, the statement said, adding that measures should be put in place to boost the cultural market for China's ethnic regions.

Steel lies behind Pyongyang's war rhetoric - Donald Kirk, Asia Times: The job of a journalist for the North Korean propaganda machine surely must be one of the more fun-filled gigs in the media business. Imagine the laughs the writers up there must be having as they dream up fresh turns of phrase with which to pillory South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak. "The mischief made by

rat-like Lee Myung-bak reminds one of a rabid dog barking towards the sky," goes one of the lines churned out by Pyongyang's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Then, as if the "rabid dog" image were not compelling enough, the next sentence mangles the metaphor by calling Lee's utterances "no more than squeaks made by the rat before being killed by all people for its wrong doings." KCNA writers take special pleasure in coming up with new ways to let readers know the bad things that will befall "rat-like Lee and his group" as they "meet the most miserable and disgraceful end for doing such mischief in rat holes as defaming the sun." The great defamation was to besmirch "the Day of the Sun" - the great day celebrating the centennial on April 15 of the birth of Kim Il-sung. The North Korean machine can't seem to get over Lee's practical words of advice - that the North give up the collective farming that's throttling production - and his reminder that the money invested in the birthday party and the launch two days earlier of the rocket that plunged into the Yellow Sea would have fed the North's hungry people for years. Image from

KONY 2012: State Propaganda for a New Generation - truther, KONY 2012 is a viral sensation that swept the entire world in less than 24 hours. Its main subject is the African rebel leader Joseph Kony, his war crimes and the clearly defined “movement” to stop him. Countless celebrities have endorsed the movement, news sources have reported it and social media is buzzing with it. While the problem of guerrilla warfare and child soldiers has plagued Africa for decades, and severaldocumentaries have already been produced regarding the issue, this particular 29-minute video made managed to obtain mass exposure and support. KONY 2012 is less of a documentary than it is a highly efficient infomercial that is tailor-made for the Facebook generation, using state-of-the-art marketing techniques to make its point. Young people like “underground movements” and want to feel like they are changing the world. KONY 2012 taps into these needs to bring about something that is not “hip” or “underground” at all: A military operation in Uganda.

Not only that, it urges the participants of the movement to order stuff, to wear bracelets that are associated with an online profile and to record their actions in social media. This makes KONY 2012 the first artificially created movement that is fully track-able, monitor-able and quantifiable by those who engendered it. In other words, what appears to be a movement “from the people” is actually a new way for the elite to advance its agenda. Always studying, analyzing and exploiting the most effective ways to persuade public opinion, KONY 2012 appears to be an attempt to test out the effectiveness of a “viral” propaganda campaign. By creating this “movement” and making young people actually DEMAND the U.S. government intervene in Africa, the masterminds behind this campaign would manage the impossible: Reversing the propaganda model in order to make it emanate from the people. By doing so, the elite’s agenda is not only accepted by the masses, it is perceived as a victory by them. Image from article

Cinecittà: Celebrating 75 Years of the Venerable Italian Studios - Nate Rawlings and Yumi Goto, Few film studios can claim to have seen as much history as Cinecittà, which has been the hub of Italian cinema for seven decades. Founded by Benito Mussolini in 1937 to film propaganda, Cinecittà was the site of 300 films in its first six years. During World War II, the Germans looted the studios, and from 1945 to 1947, Cinecittà

was a displaced persons camp, but in the 1950s, American production companies in need of a cheap studio turned to southeast Rome. Hits such as La Dolce Vita, Ben Hur, Roman Holiday and War and Peace were filmed there. When the production of Cleopatra ran over budget in London, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the enormous cast finished the film at Cinecittà. Despite a destructive fire on the set of HBO’s Rome in 2007, Cinecittà remains one of the largest working studios on the European continent. Image from entry, with caption: After World War II, Cinecittà became a refugee camp for some of the thousands of displaced people in war-ravaged Italy. Cooks work in one of the outdoor kitchens in August 1947 to feed the refugees.

10 Important Life Lessons You Learn From Living Abroad - Whitney Cox, Via PK on facebook


Map Shows Drone Use Throughout U.S.- Bethany Whitfield, Curious if there are drones operating near you? A quick look at recent data unveiled by the FAA may provide some insight.

As a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation earlier this year, the agency was forced this week to divulge a list of 63 authorized UAV launch sites scattered across the country. The sites span 20 different states, and include locations as remote as the approximately 3,000-person town of Otter Tail, Minnesota. As expected, many sites approved for law enforcement agencies and the military made the list, but so did more than two-dozen colleges and universities. Via BC on facebook. Image from article, with caption: U.S. Customs and Border protection Reaper drone

Secret Service Agent’s Plea in Colombia Proved True - Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Schmitt, New York Times: "The agency [Secret Service] plans to bar employees from drinking alcohol beginning 10 hours before their shift, the senior American official said.

The previous cutoff was six hours." Image via JH on facebook


“Notoriously disgraceful conduct is that conduct which, were it to become widely known, would embarrass, discredit, or subject to opprobrium the perpetrator, the Foreign Service, and the United States. Examples of such conduct include but are not limited to the frequenting of prostitutes, engaging in public or promiscuous sexual relations, spousal abuse, neglect or abuse of children, manufacturing or distributing pornography, entering into debts the employee could not pay, or making use of one’s position or immunity to profit or to provide favor to another (see also 5 CFR, Part 2635) or to create

the impression of gaining or giving improper favor. Disqualification of a candidate or discipline of an employee, including separation for cause, is warranted when the potential for opprobrium or contempt should the conduct become public knowledge could be reasonably expected to affect adversely the person’s ability to perform his or her own job or the agency’s ability to carry out its responsibilities. Evaluators must be carefully [sic] to avoid letting personal disapproval of such conduct influence their decisions.”

--From the State Department's 3 FAM 4139.14 Notoriously Disgraceful Conduct; via DiploPundit; image from


Via WMcP on facebook

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 24

"After debating whether Mein Kampf should be on the library shelves for 65 years, the same ideology that brought about the murder of six million Jews is now available for only 99 cents at the Apple store."

--Rachel Hirshfeld, "Hitler? There's an App for That! There are now applications available through the Apple store titled 'iMussolini,' 'iStalin,' and 'Hitler,' espousing fascist ideals,"; image from


American diplomat Peter Van Buren speaks on public diplomacy (Huffington Post)


Swearing-In Ceremony: Remarks Tara Sonenshine Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Washington, DC April 24, 2012 - U.S. Department of State: "Thank you, Madame Secretary. It is an honor to be here with you, today, and I am grateful for the confidence that you and President Obama have placed in me. Let me also echo your appreciation for Ann Stock, and for Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, for stepping forward so readily and effectively as Acting Under Secretaries. And thank you to all my predecessors in this job for laying a strong foundation upon which I can build. I am fortunate to be joining a strong team with Ann, Mike Hammer, Dana Smith, Dawn McCall, Nick Giacobbe, and the entire R family. My mind today is on family. I thank my siblings—Nancy, Marshall, Michael, and their families. Our parents would be proud of all of us and I wish they could see this day. My deepest thanks are reserved for the three men who make my world go round—my husband, Gary Friend, and my sons, Jordan, and Yale. You bring music into my life – literally and figuratively. Together (with Rocky, of course,) our home is a place of joy. That is something to celebrate. There are friends here today who are like family—who go back with me 20 years, some 25 years, and yes a few –and you know who you are--go back to high school—I won’t say how many years ago that was. My friends have been pillars of support during these challenging months as I awaited word on confirmation. Understandably, people kept asking –are you confirmed yet? Have you started? Thanks to Gary we instituted a 'Don’t Ask We’ll Tell You' policy. As I look around the room, I see so many people who have mentored me and inspired me. Regardless of your various religions, you are all my rabbis in addition to the real ones who are here today. But in particular, I single out: David Burke—my first boss at ABC News …. He had faith in a 22-year-old kid fresh out of college. That first year, he let me watch the evening news with him each night to explain the business to me. That’s mentoring. --Ted Koppel …. you were a tough boss and you set a high bar. But you also let me stretch and fly sending me overseas to places like Beijing, Soweto, Tehran, and Chiliabynsk. During the apartheid years, no television program could get South African leader Pik Botha and Desmond Tutu on the same show…you sent me over to negotiate it and we did. And you let me camp out in Lusaka begging for the first interview with Nelson Mandela. Thank you for teaching me excellence in journalism. --Tony Lake and Sandy Berger – my bosses at the White House …. You helped me make the leap from covering the news to being covered by the news. You showed me that my newsgathering skills – asking the tough questions and settling only for direct answers – would serve me well in government. --- Richard Solomon, president of the United States Institute of Peace. You helped me evolve from someone who could produce content to someone who

could lead staff. And you helped me not only work to build the USIP facility from the ground up – but to also build an architecture of conflict management around the world. -- And Madeleine Albright, who couldn’t be here today, but has been an example for women in foreign policy, reminding us that there is, to quote Sec. Albright, 'a cold place in—you know where—for women who don’t help other women.' What connects all these stories today are relationships. Secretary Clinton understands the importance of connecting to people. She has made people-to-people diplomacy central to our foreign policy. And I am reminded of something Ashley Garrigus my Special Assistant told me recently, after she came back from an official trip to Algeria, the Middle East, and Qatar. Ashley’s in her twenties, and when she met young people, they didn’t pepper her with tough questions about foreign policy. What they wanted to know was--What do you Americans do on weekends? Do you have a pet? Where did you get those cool shoes? Which college campuses in the U.S. are the most fun? Policy is about people. Without a deeper understanding of foreign publics, our policies are just flying blind. We can’t depend only on conversations with political leaders. We have to connect with people, and let them know we are listening, we care, and we are working to support them. We have to be texting, blogging, tweeting, and connecting face-to-face--to empower young people, women and girls, and minorities, engaging to change the minds of extremists who spread misinformation and hatred online, reaching out to make sure our narrative is as robust as the character of our nation. If we enlist public diplomacy effectively, we can enlist the problem solvers and leaders of tomorrow. I want to close by thanking the people of the public diplomacy field—those engaged in extending America’s narrative overseas. Some are in embassies, missions, consulates, bases. Others work in the education and exchange field. Wherever you are—virtually, or physically, you are contributing to national security and you have this country’s support and encouragement. Madame Secretary, once again, thank you, for giving me this opportunity – and thank you, everyone, for being here today." Image from

Hillary for President? On the Other Side of the Gauntlet - William Bradley, Huffington Post: "Today, Hillary seems a prohibitive favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016. ... As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton is now very popular. And Bill Clinton, who seemed at times to melt down in bitterness during his wife's campaign against Obama, is arguably the most esteemed statesman on the planet. Hillary, a world figure when she ran for president in 2008 as

a New York senator and former first lady, is even more that now after three years as secretary of state. With her husband the former president as her partner, she could offer an historic one-two punch. And when you add Obama, who is himself popular around the world, to that mix, the US would have very powerful and appealing figures to bring to bear in public diplomacy. Of course, the US is in the midst of a series of geopolitical crises which could affect Obama's election and Hillary's reputation." Image from

Why Hillary Clinton Should Join Anonymous: The State Department and the online mob are both destroying “Internet freedom” - Evgeny Morozov, Slate: "While Hillary Clinton likes to give speeches in which she fashions herself the world's greatest defender of 'Internet freedom,' the harsh reality is that her own government is its greatest enemy. Given the never-ending flow of draconian copyright and cybersecurity laws coming from Washington, this fact is getting harder and harder to conceal from the global public, who starts to wonder why American diplomats keep criticizing Russia or China but don't say anything about the impressive online spying operation that the National Security Agency is building in Utah. Nor does the State Department object when America's allies push for harsh surveillance laws; Britain, with its proposed surveillance legislation, is a case in point. America's 'Internet freedom agenda' is at best toothless and at worst counterproductive. While focusing on (and overselling) the liberating promise of social media in authoritarian regimes, it conceals a number of emerging domestic threats that have nothing to do with dictators—and everything to do with aggressive surveillance, disappearing privacy, and the astonishing greed of Silicon Valley. The case of Anonymous is not as straightforward. This movement is so distributed, fluid, and occasionally disorganized that anyone seeking to pigeonhole it into a coherent ideological doctrine would not get too far. Still, most of its recent high-profile attacks—upon the intelligence firm Stratfor, the Central Intelligence Agency, the signatories of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (which, among other things, aims to thwart Internet piracy), and the Chinese government—are motivated by a desire to defend 'Internet freedom.' In this lofty goal, the agendas, if not the approaches, of Anonymous and the State Department overlap.' Via

State Department Congratulates Brand USA on New Campaign - IMG_8325 - 'The State Department supports Brand USA, a public-private partnership with the mission of promoting increased international travel to the United States, and applauds the unveiling of its initial marketing campaign. We welcome its efforts as part of the President’s tourism initiative to support economic growth and job creation. In 2011, international visitors contributed to the employment of more than one million American workers by spending $152 billion on U.S. travel- and tourism-related goods and services. Every additional 65 international visitors to the United States generate enough revenue to support an additional travel- and tourism-related job. While the majority of visitors utilize the Visa Waiver Program to enter the United States, the State Department is committed to facilitating travel for the approximately 35 percent of international travelers who require visas. We are meeting visa demand worldwide. Consular officers at our embassies and consulates are working tirelessly to protect our borders, keep visa wait times short, and streamline the process for visa applicants, particularly in fast-growing markets – like China, Brazil, and Mexico – that offer exceptional growth opportunities. In anticipation of the future growth in these new markets, we’re deploying additional staff, expanding existing operations, and opening new consulates. We’re also looking at other ways we can work with

Brand USA to promote economic growth and job creation. We will leverage our presence overseas and our public diplomacy to welcome more visitors to America’s great destinations. We will work closely with industry, Brand USA, and our colleagues across the U.S. government to send a positive message to foreign visitors that the United States is an attractive travel destination.' The State Department is committed to facilitating travel to the United States as part of broader 'Jobs Diplomacy' goals. Visas for legitimate travelers are an important tool to help accelerate America’s economic revival. Media Note [,] Office of the Spokesperson [,]Washington, DC April 23, 2012[.]" Image from

Positive Perceptions of Germany in the U.S. on the Rise - Petra Schuermann, "More than half of all Americans have a positive view of Germany, citing shared common values as a key plank of German-American relations, according to a survey of US citizens released on April 17, 2012. And the feelings are mutual. Separate surveys show that Germans overwhelmingly approve of both President Barack Obama and his foreign policies. The survey of Americans, conducted on behalf of the
German Embassy in Washington by consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc. of New York between December 15 and 29, 2011, consists of responses from 1,517 individuals ages 18 and over. The affirming views of the US role in world affairs from the German side come chiefly from Transatlantic Trends, an annual inquiry conducted by the German Marshall Fund, which measures public opinion through interviews of around 1,000 people in each country surveyed. ... A total of 55 percent of respondents, who were based across the United States, said they had an 'excellent' or 'good' overall impression of Germany, up from 48 percent in 2009, when the previous survey was conducted by Magid. That is higher than at any point in time since 2002, when Magid began conducting the series of surveys on Americans’ perceptions of Germany for the German Information Center USA, the Embassy’s public diplomacy department. Image from

Minding the Gap in Strategic Communication - “It seems that the Obama Administration might be turning a corner in the way it views interagency roles for strategic communication. The president’s updated National Framework for Strategic Communication, which was recently made public by the blog MountainRunner, suggested that the Administration is making a new effort to address the agency gap between authorities and resources: ‘We have taken a more hands-on approach to ensuring coordination of resources across agencies. Even in areas were DOD has more resources, we have worked to integrate the skills and perspectives of civilian officers and our Embassies into the deployment of these resources.’ But the real news comes next: “Similarly, where DOD runs public-facing websites, we have developed closer coordination with State on editorial oversight and content selection.” These websites—which include Infosurhoy, Magharebia, Mawtani, and SETimes—have been at the center of the debate surrounding the military’s encroachment on what have typically been civilian public diplomacy activities as the Pentagon has taken increasing responsibility for delivering the American message abroad in recent years. (DOD’s public-facing websites are also part of the military’s ‘Information Operations,’ which has drawn fire for activities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and most recently sparked controversy over the apparent targeting of two reporters who published criticisms of the program.)  Calling for civilian editorial oversight of military messaging for foreign audiences is an important step, but whether the move will be meaningful will depend on whether it bears a commensurate transfer of resources and real authority for State.”

Passive aggressive BBG staff? - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "Lynne Weil is a highly respected and experienced public relations specialist who before joining the BBG was the Press Director and Spokeswoman for the U.S. Agency for International Development, a Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, the Press Secretary for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the Communications Director for the House Foreign Affairs Committee. ...  [V]ery strange was the way Lynne Weil described BBG Governor Victor Ashe’s efforts to restore the Edward R. Murrow name to the BBG shortwave radio transmitting facility in Greenville, NC. Ashe with the help of North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones saved the station from being closed down by the Broadcasting Board of Governors and International Broadcasting Bureau executive staff. These staffers deeply resent Ashe’s active engagement and second guessing of their decisions.

Most recently, he convinced other BBG members to discard the staff’s earlier recommendation to end Voice of America shortwave radio broadcasts to Tibet and to close down the VOA Cantonese Service. It’s not that Lynne Weil was silent about Ashe’s efforts to save the Greenville station and to restore its name. On the contrary, her presentation was ... full of accolades. ... Lynne Weil also volunteered information that the placing of Edward R. Murrow signs near and on the station and the planned rededication ceremony that is to take place on May 2, will cost $10,000." Image from article

Broadcasting Board of Governors – Mumbo-Jumbo and Psycho-Babble - The Federalist,USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "US international broadcasting has

deteriorated to such an extent that the highest levels of US Government must make a decision to rescue the agency’s mission and remove it from the hands of the BBG/IBB – some of whom are now reported to be preparing for overseas junkets." Image from

UK TV presenter and author "found jazz and blues" on VOA during his early teens - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting CBS's 'Strategic Terror Attack' - Nathan Guttman, Jewish Forward: "Michael Oren's controversial report aired by CBS News has pitted Israel’s top envoy to the United States against the network’s flagship news show and now has the Jewish community up in arms. The report by senior '60 Minutes' correspondent Bob Simon, sought to explore the plight of Christian Palestinians, a dwindling population caught between the hardship of Israeli occupation and the pressure from rising Islamic extremism. But even as the story was in the process of being reported, the loaded issue became even more explosive. Israeli officials tried to fight what they viewed as an unbalanced report, and CBS’s reporter fought back against what he viewed as inappropriate intervention by the Israelis." More on this issue in the below "Related Items."

The result on air was a lengthy discussion dedicated not to the issue of Palestinian Christians, but to the conduct of Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to Washington. ‘When we decided to do the story last year, we did not realize it would become so controversial,’ Bob Simon stated at the opening of his report. An account provided to the Forward by an Israeli official involved in the events confirmed that controversy ran throughout the entire year of preparation. Israelis first heard of Simon’s intent to produce a story on Palestinian Christians more than six months ago. For Israel, a damning story about its treatment of Christians in the Holy Land could dampen relations with Christians across the world and complicate Israeli public diplomacy efforts aimed at portraying the Jewish State as the only haven of religious freedom in the Middle East. ...... The Israeli embassy is expected to issue a reaction taking on some of the points raised in the story. Jewish groups have also moved into action, with the Jewish Federations of North American issuing a to its members before airing of the show to get ready for action." Oren image from article. More articles on this topic in below "Related Items."

Let not Barotseland secede - Samuel Ngoma, "A human spark. We have been one nation all along, whose unity has been extraordinarily rewarding. As far as national unity goes, we outpunch our weight even against the world’s most stable democracies. For those of us who were privileged to serve in Foreign Service, Zambia’s national unity, peace and stability, was our Unique Selling Proposition (USP), as far as public diplomacy goes. We are blessed with a burgeoning creative reputation worldwide, which includes professionals from Western Province or what is now being treacherously called Barotseland. We have, among Zambia’s most famous sons and daughters, both the quick and the dead, Lozis who have done the country proud. It is a dazzling list of founding fathers, dignitaries, politicians, diplomats, Academicians, Lawyers, Clerics, celebrities, outstanding civil servants, close friends, brethren and journalists."

Embassy of Peru, Washington, D.C. - "The Embassy of Peru promotes the most significant values and expressions of the Peruvian Culture whose diversity has a very long history. Culture is a factor of comprehensive development that has a multiplying effect on all aspects of the country’s foreign policy such as trade, investment, international cooperation and the reduction of poverty.

It also allows the Embassy to be in close contact with the Peruvian community living in the United States. In addition, our Public Diplomacy Department supports and coordinates cultural activities from Peruvian artists who come to Washington D.C for presentations and exhibitions in all artistic fields. It organizes cultural and artistic performances at the Embassy’s Art Gallery. It also assists and provides American citizens with information about Peru’s culture." Image from article, with caption: Embassy of Peru in Washington DC


 Committing to Afghanistan - Editorial Board, Washington Post: The president has not given a major speech about Afghanistan

in more than a year and has not visited the country in 18 months. His actions will be important to reinforce the message, to both Afghans and Americans, of the bilateral accord: that he is firmly committed to Afghanistan’s future. The U.S. mission in Afghanistan has suffered daunting setbacks in recent months, including attacks by Afghan soldiers on U.S. troops, the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians, allegedly by an Army sergeant, and the mistaken burning of Korans on an American base. So the breakthrough announced on Sunday was particularly significant: U.S. and Afghan officials initialed a strategic partnership agreement that would commit the United States to supporting Afghanistan for a decade beyond the scheduled withdrawal of combat troops at the end of 2014. Image from Afghan insurgents post propaganda videos on latest attacks - Ali Safi and Jonathan S. Landay, Videos and pictures that the Taliban have posted online purportedly show the insurgents who staged this week’s attacks in Kabul and three provinces, with two fighters declaring that the suicide missions were to avenge the inadvertent burning of Qurans and the alleged massacre of villagers by U.S. troops. The material is highly stylized, perhaps indicating that the operations were more for propaganda purposes than military gain.

Another Iraq No. 1! (In Dead Journalists) - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Iraq racks up another number one finish in a world category, this time in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) 2012 Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are slain and killers go free. Iraq comes out on top, with 93 unsolved journalist murders last year. Freedom of the Press was one of the US’ goals in going to war in Iraq, bringing them democracy and all. Yep, just last month the White House said “Iraq today is less violent, more democratic and more prosperous—and the United States more deeply engaged there—than at any time in recent history.” So for anyone out there a) still thinking the US accomplished something in Iraq (“it’s still better than under Saddam ya’all!”) and b) the deaths of 4484 American soldiers are somehow justified or c) Iraq is on the road to democracy, go ahead and suck on the CPJ statistics instead. Image from article Could overseas events drive the 2012 election? - Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: There are many international situations that could have a big impact on the presidential race — beginning, of course, with the war in Afghanistan. Both Obama and Romney lag well behind the public mood, which is for bringing the troops home now. Both may be tempted to catch up.

 The luxury we don’t have in Syria - Richard Cohen, Washington Post: It’s impossible to know what would follow the Assad regime. An Islamic republic? Sectarian mayhem? But one way to avoid a disastrous outcome is for the United States to help organize the opposition and show that America is on the side of the protesters. Washington, though, has been on the sidelines, and the Europeans lack the military to do what needs to be done.

Propaganda Parade: Assad's Propaganda War Moves to Twitter - John Hudson,

Woman's Sunglasses Expose Syrian Regime Propaganda - Arabic Social Media Salon: This one's from over a week ago, but it's good. ASM Salon meant to post it then, but it's been a busy week. Check out this still shot of a woman getting interviewed on Ad-Dunia channel, a pro-regime satellite propaganda channel:

We initially saw this photo on Hanein forums, where a user linked to an Al-Arabiya news story discussing the incident. Al-Arabiya, in turn, was alerted to the find by opposition users who discovered the reflection and posted it on Facebook.  ASM Salon hasn't seen this particular interview, but we've seen many like it on Syria News and on Ad-Dunia channel. In the brief interview, the woman noted that "Yes, the Syrian crisis has ended, the bloody scenes seen from the opposition and on Arab satellite channels are fake, the Syrian people are living in safety." From the reflection on her glasses, you can see the numerous soldiers and armed men surrounding her car, making sure that she had the right answer to the "reporter's" questions.

McGurn: What's U.S. Citizenship Worth?: America is no longer as attractive to highly successful people as we like to think - William McGurn: In short, America is not facing up to the big question: If you are a dynamic individual with a good business, do you want to be an American—and open up all your world-wide activities to the IRS—or might you be happy living and raising your family in a part of the world that welcomes rather than discourages success? The aforementioned IRS report suggests other countries are busy answering that question, citing a World Bank study showing that, unlike ours, "40 economies made it easier to pay taxes last year."

 'Borat' boosted tourism to Kazakhstan, official says - Emily Alpert, Kazakhstan was decidedly not amused when British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen poked fun at the former Soviet nation six years ago in his rollicking, often profane mockumentary "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." Now a Kazakh official says the ribbing has had an upside. Foreign tourism to Kazakhstan has surged since the film was released, with the number of visas to the country growing tenfold, Foreign Minister Erzhan Kazykhanov reportedly said Monday. "For us it is a great victory. I am grateful to Borat, the main character of the movie, for tourists’ keen interest in Kazakhstan,” the Kazakh-based Tengri News quoted Kazykhanov as saying.

One travel company even boasts that a Borat-themed tour to Kazakhstan is "coming soon" on its website. "Who is the real Borat from Kazakhstan? What is Borat Sagdiyev's country really like?? There are different opinions. Join us and we will discover together!!!" the Oriental Express Central Asia company promises. Image from article, with caption: This undated photo shows actor Sacha Baron Cohen in a scene from the film "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." 

Top Ten Reasons Israel tried to Censor Bob Simon’s Report on Palestinian Christians - 1. The report told Americans that there are Palestinian Christians. Right wing Israelis have attempted to displace, expropriate and erase the Palestinian nation, and to convince Americans that Palestinians don’t exist or if they do are enemies of the U.S. When the foe of the US was the Soviet Union, they made the Palestinians Communists. When the foe became al-Qaeda, they made the Palestinians violent fundamentalists.

But if some percentage of Palestinians is Christians, then that fact disrupts the propaganda. In fact, millions of Palestinians are descended from the 700,000 or so Palestinians ethnically cleansed by the Israelis from what is now Israel in 1948, of whom about 10 percent were Christian. 5. The report allowed Palestinians to speak for themselves and to refute Oren’s anti-Palestinian talking points. It is a key principle of right wing Israeli propaganda that Palestinians should never be allowed to challenge the Israeli narrative on American television. 8. The report described the Palestinian Kairos Document, calling for nonviolent, peaceful struggle by Palestinians against Israeli Occupation and land grabs. Likud propaganda insists in racist fashion that all Palestinians are inherently angry and violent and that their protest against being made stateless and homeless by Israel is irrational. 9. The report quotes an Israeli scholar who puts “Political Judaism” on par with “Political Islam.” It is a key principle of Likud propaganda that no movement in Israel may ever be compared to movements in the Muslim world. [Bob Simon’s report on Christians in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank and Jerusalem included in article (video).] Image from article

Video: A Well Crafted Piece of Propaganda Packed with Intentional Lies, Is It Sunday Already? - Yori Yanover, Veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon on Sunday presented “Christians of the Holy Land,” a piece of complex, anti-Israeli propaganda that was clearly intended to cause

Israel damage among US Christians. It throws unfair accusations at Israeli Jews—who are essentially blameless in the story of the vanishing Arab Christians—while practically ignoring the active role of Palestinian Muslims in pushing Christians out of Bethlehem, to name but one city. Simon image from article

Arab refugees - Arab Philatelic Propaganda: According to the Arab narrative, during the War of Independence, Israel expelled Arabs from their homes and they now want them back. The refugees' “right of return” has been at the top of the agenda of every generation of so-called "peace talks." Their story began as early as 1947. Whether the Arabs were expelled as their current propaganda claims, or whether they left of their own accord, based on the urging of Arab leaders who expected a swift victory, is not at issue here.

What matters is that the United Nations endorsed a carefully prescribed right, but only for “Palestinian refugees”. Between 1947 and 1949 hundreds of thousands of Arabs, (reliable estimates range from 500,000 to 750,000), left Israel and poured into neighboring Arab countries. No one cares much about the much larger number of Jews expelled from Muslim lands as a result of the war. They are of course Jews. The world is blinded by the excellent Arab propaganda machine and oil. The number of refugees was bloated by Arab propaganda to a million. The Arabs were put into makeshift camps and were not welcomed by their cousins. The Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte, visited the camps and saw men, women and children living in tents. They were poor, hungry and living on handouts which were often not forthcoming. No country seemed to want them. Image from entry

North Korea Thanks Its Schoolchildren For Building Such Nice Rocket Tanks - Max Fisher, Everyone in North Korea serves the military -- even, according to boastful state propagandists, kids. North Korea's official propaganda outlet, the Korean Central News Agency, recently declared the state's appreciation for all those young school kids who "helped" manufacture rocket-shooting tanks for the People's Army.

The announcement, which coincided with a military parade in the country's second-largest city to show off the vehicles, also thanked the "Democratic Women's Union." Image from article, with caption: Multiple-launch rocket systems on parade in Pyongyang. Lee Myung-bak as Rat? - Jeffrey, The North Korean propaganda campaign against South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is in high dudgeon with all manner of ugliness.

Particularly unpleasant examples can be seen in a series of cartoons showing Lee as a rat. Lee Myung-bak as rat seems to be a theme, accompanied with a threat in

KCNA to “reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes, in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means and methods of our own style.” Images from article

Azerbaijani propaganda in UNESCO must be stopped – Armenian PM - Armenian PM Tigran Sargsyan received the chairman of the 36th UNESCO conference, the permanent delegate of Hungary to UNESCO Katalin Bogyay and Deputy Director General of the organization Getachew Engida on Monday.

“We give great importance to the cooperation with UNESCO,” Tigran Sargsyan. Touching upon Azerbaijan’s actions in UNESCO the PM mentioned that Azerbaijan uses that platform not for deploying dialogue but for propaganda against Armenia. “UNESCO must be a platform for dialogue. Azerbaijan’s propaganda must be stopped,” the PM said. The sides also discussed joint events to be organized in the framework of ‘Yerevan – World Capital of Books 2012’ celebrations.

Nazi Speaker Information on Fashion and British Plans for for Germany - Randall Bytwerk, German Propaganda Archive: Over time I’ve been adding to the archive material intended for Nazi speakers.  This material was then used by thousands of speakers to discuss the Nazi propaganda line in public meetings throughout Germany.  Today I am adding two editions. The first is from March 1943, and attempts to deal with an unintended consequence of Goebbels’s February 1943 speech on total war.  He had called for the elimination of luxuries, but some over-eager citizens thought they were following his instructions by insulting well-dressed women.  Speakers are to say that it is still good for women to take care in their appearance.  The second edition is from mid-February 1944 and expresses outrage at English Lord Vansittart’s discussion of re-educating the Germans after the war. It also discusses Allied carpet bombing.

Hitler? There's an App for That! There are now applications available through the Apple store titled "iMussolini," "iStalin," and "Hitler," espousing fascist ideals - Rachel Hirshfeld, Tablet Magazine’s Lea Zeltserman examines the fine line between propaganda and history as it relates to the dissemination of knowledge through technology and “the smartphone world.” Now, there are applications available through the Apple Store titled “iMussolini,” “iStalin” and “Hitler,” espousing hate-ridden and fascist ideals. Appealing to potential buyer of the 99 cent “Hitler” app, which did not make it through the Apple approval process and now lacks the illustrious “i,” the developer announces, “[I]nside this Encyclopedia: You can copy full text and full pictures, to paste and send by eMail or to paste to any document inside your device to share or study later. You can zoom (in/out) all text and graphics, using two fingers to enlarge or double TAP to zoom out. This encyclopedia of Adolf Hitler digital studio can be used for university, college, or within the family and extend our knowledge. … This is one of many low price encyclopedic applications on a great repertoire.” After debating whether Mein Kampf should be on the library shelves for 65 years, the same ideology that brought about the murder of six million Jews is now available for only 99 cents at the Apple store. Regarding the iStalin app, Seltserman recalls how she listened to the dictator “expounding against the barbarian German invaders,” on her iPhone, a speech that her four Soviet grandparents likely heard decades earlier. “I was left with chills, as if my phone, normally

so faithful and reassuring, had betrayed Noble café, we’d know exactly what to do,” Zeltserman states. “But when it comes to our haloed iPho me,” she says. “If Stalin’s speeches were being piped through the intercom at the local Barnes &nes, we’ve lost our certainty about the line between propaganda and history. After all, isn’t unfettered access to information supposed to be a democratic right?” When “iMussolini” was first released in the Italian iTunes store, it became the country’s second-most popular app, reaching 1,000 daily downloads. While Jewish groups, Holocaust survivors, and the Young Italian Communists were quick to protest, the developer of the app defended it, calling upon ‘freedom of speech.’ While the app was pulled for “copyright violations,” within a few weeks it was re-approved. “It’s a delicate page in our history that should never be forgotten,” asserted Luigi Marino, the developer of “iMussolini.” “The app does not intend to encourage violence in any way.” However, Zeltserman notes, “You can almost hear the shrug. At best, perhaps he’s just too naive to understand why people might take issue; at worst, he seems cavalier about the protests of Holocaust survivors whose objections he doesn’t even acknowledge.” Image from article, with caption, Smartphone

Best Video Game Shop - Propaganda Palace, Wonderland of the Americas, 4522 Fredericksburg, Ste F3 (210) 400-0240, Propaganda refers to itself as a "retro video game heaven" for good reason. If you're a child of the '80s and looking for a video game controller or power glove for your old NES system or a spare part for your Atari 2600, Propaganda Palace is the place to find it. Gamers with a soft spot for nostalgia looking to relive the first time they hopped over a fire-breathing Bowser to save the princess or figured out how to KO King Hippo flock here.

Owner A.J. Martinez (left) says vintage gaming is back at full force. "It's come full circle. People want to have that feeling like they're 12 years old again. Their faces light up when they play these systems. It's like Christmas." While Martinez says he's closing up shop at the Eisenhauer location, there is still a venue at the Wonderland of the Americas Mall and a new one coming to 2100 McCullough. Image from article


Americans give peace a fighting chance: Study cites drop in violent crimes - By Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times: Though Hollywood and the news media often portray the nation as a chaotic crucible of gangsters and crime, the U.S. is more“peaceful”

now than in the past two decades. So says the United States Peace Index, released Tuesday by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a nonprofit research group that based its conclusions on federal statistics on homicides, crimes, police employees, small arms and the jail populations of all 50 states. Image from


 "According to Alan Michie's authoritative book on the early years of RFE, jazz was used as a weapon by both sides of the Iron Curtain [:]' 'RFE in its early years contributed its quota of forbidden jazz in daily programs beamed to the younger listeners, although some of the exile broadcasters, brought up on mazurkas, polkas and waltzes, were inclined to doubt the assurances of their American advisers that jazz music would prove as infectious behind the Iron Curtain as it had been all around the world. But after Stalin's passing in 1953 the Communist regimes grudgingly lifted their taboo and their radio stations cautiously ventured to play whatever jazz records they had on file, mostly music of the 1920s and 1930s.

By 1956, however, the appetite for jazz was so accepted that the regime radios boldly introduced hit tunes from the West. Radio Warsaw smartly had its records flown in from New York. To counter this competition, RFE sharpened its own programs, and put on recognized Western jazz experts to provide the know-how that the Communists could not match. Simon Copans, an American authority who had lived many years in France and who conducted a jazz program on France's Radio Diffusion Francaise, was borrowed from that network to prepare a weekly record session, which in turn was translated and made available for broadcast by all of RFE's Voices. John Wilson's program, 'The World of Jazz,' broadcast regularly over New York City's WQXR radio station, was made available for rebroadcast over RFE, as were special jazz programs contributed by New York's radio station WNEW.'" --From Richard H. Cummings, "Beating Jamming with Jazz: Beaming Music Over The Iron Curtain," Cold War Radios; image from