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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 25-26

"[E]veryone on the Internet is irritating all the time."

--Chris Bucholz, "7 Commonly Corrected Grammar Errors (That Aren't Mistakes)," Cracked; image from


(a) Land of Dreams. Via YO on facebook

(b) US Pavilion 2012-Diversity Wonder and Solutions

(c) North Korean War Propaganda Is Even Crazier than You Thought


“Policy is about people” - Matt Armstrong, MountainRunner: "This week, Tara Sonenshine was formally sworn-in as the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs by Secretary Clinton. Secretary Clinton’s introductory remarks were personal, insightful, and deeply supportive of public diplomacy and of Tara. While the Secretary’s comments are not available online, she began by emphasizing the importance of public diplomacy when she said the Constitution begins ‘with We the People, not We the Government.’ Tara’s theme was the same: policy is about people. It may seem obvious to some, but it has yet to be internalized by all, whether in the Department or across the other agencies.

The job of Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs will not be easy, for the simple reality that the office must find itself and establish its relevancy to the Department and the interagency. Tara’s tenure will likely make or break an office that has never found its role or footing, suffered severe and frequent gaps in leadership, radical changes in objectives and tactics, uncertainty on what ‘public diplomacy’ is, and a lack of a true strategy. Done right and not only does she greatly empower the Department and the U.S., but she will set the parameters for the selection of those who follow her. Tara’s remarks at her swearing-in .ceremony.” Image from entry

R Episode VII: A New Hope - Matthew Wallin, On Tuesday, Tara Sonenshine was publicly sworn in as the new Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, making her the 7th person to hold the full position since its establishment in 1999. The appointment of Under Secretary Sonenshine is a welcome crescendo in the R Office symphony, and fills a position which has been vacant 30% of the time. In her remarks at the ceremony, Sonenshine stated: [‘]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. [‘] Obviously, Sonenshine has a good understanding of the premises of public diplomacy, and these words are soothing to those in the PD realm who see listening to people as a central tenant of good PD. With a journalism background, Sonenshine also knows how to ask the questions that need to be asked and get to the bottom of issues—and asking questions is key to listening and understanding. Yet the toughest job Sonenshine will have is absorbing the reality of R’s position within the State Department, a position which has hardly proven relevant or effective over the past decade. The previous Under Secretaries have served relatively short terms, possibly due to the frustrations of what has proven to be a very difficult job within the bureaucratic politics of State and D.C. as a whole. Former head of the now defunct U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy Matt Armstrong stipulates that Sonenshine’s ‘tenure will make or break an office that has never found its role or footing.’ While Sonenshine certainly has the ability to ‘make’ the office, I’m not sure she or any other Under Secretary has had the power to ‘break’ it.

It has been broken since its inception.Given this reality, my humble advice to the new Under Secretary is to focus on the message. Don’t wear yourself out trying to make headway within the structural bureaucracy as many before you have tried. Help R build a portfolio of success that serves to justify its ascendency into relevance. You have my highest hopes." Image from entry

Under Secretary of State Sonenshine to Co-Coordinate the 2012 U.S.-China Consultation on People-to-People Exchange - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State: "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine will travel to Beijing May 3-4 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. Recognizing the fundamental role that citizens play in fostering mutual understanding and cooperation between the United States and China, both countries inaugurated the Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in Beijing on May 25, 2010, and held a second CPE April 11-12, 2011, in Washington, D.C. 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."

U.S. to ramp up public diplomacy efforts during Yeosu Expo - Lee Chi-dong, Yonhap: "With the opening of the 2012 Yeosu World Expo three weeks away, the United States announced a plan Tuesday to dispatch 40 'student ambassadors' to the event. Officials said the 40 American college students from across the nation will serve as a 'public face' for the U.S. as it seeks to promote people-to-people exchanges with visitors during the Expo. It is scheduled to take place in the southern coastal city of Yeosu from May 12 through Aug. 12. They will greet visitors, government officials and other dignitaries as well as provide administrative, protocol and programming support, according to the State Department. 'With more than 60 percent of the world's population under the age of 30, we must engage today's youth and tomorrow's leaders,' Ann Stock, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, said at a press briefing. 'Leading our people-to-people diplomacy efforts at the World Expo, our student ambassadors showcase the best of America's young people.' Philippe Cousteau, chief spokesman for the

U.S. Pavilion, also said they "represent the hopeful and determined spirit of the American people." Cousteau is an explorer, social entrepreneur and environmental advocate. His family is known for efforts to conserve oceans. The Expo, to be held in Yeosu, about 455 kilometers south of Seoul, under the theme of 'The Living Ocean and Coast,' will be joined by 109 nations and international organizations. Organizers expect it to draw several million visitors. U.S. officials said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may visit the Yeosu Expo. 'The Expo is also an opportunity to showcase America's commitment to oceans. Secretary of State Clinton has made environmental issues a priority at the State Department,' Stock said. 'The Republic of Korea couldn't be a better partner in this work,' she added. 'Our participation in the Expo highlights our strong relationship both with the Republic of Korea and its people." Image from article, with caption: Ann Stock, assistant secretary of state, briefs reporters on the U.S. plan for the Yeosu World Expo, in Washington on April 24, flanked by U.S. Pavillion Chief Spokesperson Philippe Cousteau (L) and Brittany Alexander, who represents a group of student ambassadors.

At Broadcasting Board of Governors, public diplomacy starts at how its executives treat their most vulnerable foreign employees - BBG Watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "How an employer treats his employees determines how loyal they are, how well they perform and how an organization they work for is perceived by the public. Public opinion matters, especially for government employers. For the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency that runs the Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and other stations broadcasting news to the world with U.S. taxpayers’ money, the public opinion

that matters is mostly abroad. These stations provide uncensored news to many countries without free media and some, specifically the Voice of America, also represent the United States — the full spectrum of American opinions — as part of VOA’s mission. These stations are not in the public diplomacy business per se, but their news reporting and the image they project adds to the overall U.S. public diplomacy message in various countries. If you are a foreign national and the news gets out that your U.S. government employer mistreats you and takes advantage of you, it’s not a good thing for America’s reputation abroad. Journalists talk to other journalists who in turn publish what they hear from their colleagues. If the U.S. government employer claims that its activities reflect American values and help other nations transition to media freedom and democracy, the gap between actions and words becomes even more apparent. The Broadcasting Board of Governors executive staff has never cared about such things.

They have ignored the public impact of their actions for years as they continued to exploit foreign born and U.S. visa status journalists, denied them basic rights and got away with it until now. But the news about their mistreatment of employees is now leaking out, bad press in many countries intensifies, and court cases pile up, including one at the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg. Even pro-American foreign politicians speak out in defense of journalists mistreated and exploited by the BBG. This is not the kind of public diplomacy the U.S. needs. Yet, the BBG executive staff has remained unmoved. But the tide may be turning against the BBG managers now working for the director of the International Broadcasting Bureau Richard Lobo. The fact that BBG employees rate their managers as being the worst leaders in the entire U.S. government, as reflected in the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) surveys, has caught the attention of BBG member Ambassador Victor Ashe. He started meeting with employees and urged other BBG members to do the same." Images from entry: top, with caption: Snjezana Pelivan is suing RFE/RL and BBG at the European Court of Human Rights; bottom, with caption: Anna Karapetian is suing RFE/RL in Czech courts

US international broadcasting and human rights in Asia - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Canada’s Approach To Humanitarian Assistance Outlined - Joana Saba, "The Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA) hosted a seminar on Public Diplomacy on Tuesday evening, with Canadian Ambassador, Douglas George and Computer Linguistics Professor Salah Najem. The seminar was moderated by Dr Nada Al-Muttawa, Researcher at the Center for Strategic Studies at Kuwait University. Ambassador George’s lecture was entitled ‘Public Diplomacy and Humanitarian Assistance', while Dr Najem’s was on 'Social Networks and Electronic Newspapers'. The lecture began with a speech thanking Ahmed Al Behbehani, Chairman of the KJA and Faisal Al-Qanai, Secretary-General of the KJA. This was followed by ambassador George’s lecture, which recounted Canada’s role in addressing humanitarian crises across the world, and the role of public diplomacy in garnering support for the initiatives which allow support for the causes the Canadian government adopts. He stressed the importance of providing humanitarian assistance through civilian humanitarian agencies and groups from the inflicted countries. He gave examples of the assistance Canada has provided, in cases such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, wherein the Canadian government matched every dollar given by citizens to the Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund, resulting in donations amounting to $220M. The ambassador also pointed to Canada’s support for Kofi Annan’s plan, both diplomatically and financially. Finally, he pointed to Canada’s use of the media to inform people and provide advice on how to best assist the afflicted people. Dr Najem then went on to lecture on social media, and the implications of the huge boom in the use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter on public diplomacy. He began by outlining the statistics denoting the increased use of social media, pointing out that 73 percent of teenagers now have a Facebook account, and that 75 percent of the time spent online is spent on Facebook. He then went on to explain how this has fundamentally changed the way that foreign ministers and other governmental organizations communicate with their target audiences. He gave the examples of the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and its use of Facebook pages and Twitter, and how this allows groups to define the information given to the public, as well as specifically target the desired audiences. This was followed by Dr Al-Mutawa further elucidating on both topics, after which she proceeded to take questions to the speakers from the audience, which they then replied to duly. In a statement to the Arab Times, Ambassador George said, 'I was very pleased to be invited to participate in tonight’s discussion on public diplomacy and humanitarian assistance.

I had the opportunity to outline Canada’s approach to humanitarian assistance, and I know it’s something very important to Kuwait and to Canadians to help countries in times of crises and distress.' With regards to the conflict in Syria, he also added that Canada is working with many other countries in the 'Friends of Syria' organization, to provide assistance and come up with alternative plans should Kofi Annan’s efforts fail. Dr Najem also expressed his happiness on lecturing on the effects of social media on public diplomacy. In addition, with regards to the large segment of society which does not have access to social media, he told the Arab Times, 'of course there are those who for financial or cultural reasons do not use Facebook. Nonetheless, in terms of penetrating these factions, everyone has mobile phones, which allows for high penetration rates which allow contact with these people.'" Image from article, with caption: Professor Salah Najem, Dr Nada Al-Muttawa And Canadian Ambassador Douglas George.

Government overlooking parliamentary ties: forum - Chris Wang, "The government has underestimated the positive impact of parliamentary diplomacy for too long, but personnel and a budget would be required if it seeks a more active engagement, former officials said yesterday. Speaking at a symposium held at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, Michael Kao (高英茂), Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Lo Fu-chen (羅福全), former Taiwanese representatives to the EU, US and Japan respectively, all recognized the importance of parliamentary diplomacy, given Taiwan’s unique political situation. 'Bilateral exchanges between parliamentary members and between peoples of two countries, which is known as ‘parliamentary diplomacy’ and ‘public diplomacy’ respectively, could play an important role in developing Taiwan’s external ties,' Kao said. China’s diplomatic interference and suppression almost always occurs in the executive realm, which means Taiwan should spend more effort focusing in the legislative area, he said."

Brazil's Cry for Argentina Makes 'Social Equality' an Issue for Obama and Romney - Eric Ehrmann, Huffington Post: "[A]s politicians and business leaders struggle with the role capitalism is to play in driving Globalism 2.0 and its monetary system, Brazil's efforts to bring more 'social equality' to Argentina, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Cuba have made president Dilma and Brazil's world view an issue in the media circus that is the U.S. presidential campaign. ... Winners and losers in the 'social equality' game depend on how public diplomacy is used to shape world opinion. Turning up the volume, Brasilia successfuly played the sanctions card against the United States to win a quarter-billion-dollar World Trade Organization (WTO) settlement over illegal Washington cotton subsidies. ... The Iranian FARS news agency reports Ahamadinejad will visit Brazil to make up for the January meeting with Dilma that was postponed by her handlers in an effort to assuage Washington. So far, Dilma's press team and foreign ministry have been tight-lipped about the visit. Taking the Iranathon into Dilma's hood would be a public diplomacy coup for the clerics in Tehran and jeopardize White House efforts to promote business ties with Brazil, the world's sixth-largest economy, and other Latin nations and could push Latino and Jewish voters into the Romney camp."

New Paper on Russian Public Diplomacy – Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: “The readers of this blog know of my special interest in and fascination with Russia and Russian public diplomacy. I have blogged on the subject the most and it was also the focus of my Master's capstone project last year. However, my published papers dealt with other subjects in the past, namely Turkish public diplomacy and Hizballah's media strategy. And now, finally, I have something out there that is more systematic and ‘academic’ on the subject of Russian PD, as well. ‘Selective Processing: A Strategic Challenge for Public Diplomacy. An Alternative Approach to Russian Public Diplomacy in the United States.’ Gnovis Journal, Issue II, Spring 2012, Volume XII [.] ABSTRACT: The information age has made public diplomacy an integral component of statecraft.

In essence, public diplomacy is transnational and cross-cultural strategic communication that aims to inform and engage foreign publics. Yet, developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs) have also made it much more difficult to overcome the cacophony and noise, especially in contexts where the audience is not predisposed to listening in the first place. Therefore, there is a need to approach the challenge through alternative communication strategies, incorporating them into the overall nature as well as specific techniques of any public diplomacy strategy. This analysis looks at the case of Russian public diplomacy in the United States, where, even twenty years after the end of the Cold War and various public diplomacy initiatives, public attitude towards Russia is still largely negative. The paper posits that selective processing of information is a potential explanation and suggests relational and network-based approaches to improve the effectiveness of Russian public diplomacy in the US. This was based on a paper for a communication theory class I took, and one of the building blocks of my final project. Yet, it is still very much a work in progress. That is especially why I would appreciate any feedback, comments and suggestions.” Image from entry

The Olympics: Rebranding London - Tunde Akinmade, Sutradhar’s Market: "In my study, I am hoping to gain insights about the motivations that lead a city to compete for the right to host the Olympics. Many felt that hosting the Olympics was a turning point for China, a coming-out party of sorts for a country on the cusp of becoming an important world player.

China demonstrably used the opportunity in 2008 to broadcast an image of themselves to the world. In other words, the Olympics became a big nation-branding and public diplomacy opportunity. Using a comparative case-study approach, my study will compare nation-branding and public diplomacy via the Olympics in both the British and Chinese contexts. Through a review of data from stakeholders in government and non-governmental organizations directly involved in the planning of the Olympics, I hope to discover the differences and similarities between how nation-branding strategies are used in the prelude of the Olympics in London and Beijing to advance the public diplomacy goals of their respective nations." Image from article, with caption: The Olympic rings already adorn London's St. Pancras Train Station to get ready for the summer competition.

U.S.-Syrian Superhero "Silver Scorpion" Debuts as MTV Web Series - Nyay Bhushan, "Liquid Comics and the Open Hands Initiative, a U.S.-based nonprofit dedicated to public diplomacy efforts, on Wednesday announced the launch of the Silver Scorpion animated Web series on MTV Voices. Billed as the world's first disabled superhero, the wheelchair-bound Silver Scorpion is the brainchild of a group of 26 American and Syrian youths with disabilities who convened for a Youth Ability Summit in Damascus over a year ago. The hero they envisioned, an Arab teen that loses his legs in a tragic accident, has the power to not only bend metal with his mind, but - the creators hope - 'to transform his world… and ours.' The Silver Scorpion

will come to life on the web in an animated 4-part series on the MTV Voices global websites targeting the youth in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia. 'This is not just a comic book; it’s a breakthrough effort in public diplomacy that helps forge lasting bonds and understanding between the youth of the United States and the Middle East,' said Open Hands Initiative co-founder and chairman Jay T Snyder who also emphasized the importance of cross-cultural exchange despite Syria's unfolding humanitarian crisis, while highlighting the issue of disability rights. 'This type of people-to-people diplomacy is as important now as it was a year ago when we brought these creative young people together, and it will be even more important in the years ahead.'” Image from article

Glorious Nation Thanks Borat! - Paul Rockower, Levantine:  As I have long contended, Borat was actually great for Kazakhstan, and its Foreign Minister finally admitted as much ... . Exactly what the Bernays-Barnum School of PD holds to be true, that (almost) all attention is good attention when it comes to nationbranding. More than anyone else, Borat put Kazakhstan on the map. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan can only dream of such wonderful, free public diplomacy."

PCD (public diplomacy) in the contemporary world order - fin0016, Public and Cultural Diplomacy 2: A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University

To What Extent Can the Nation Branding Improve the Country Image? - curious84, Public and Cultural Diplomacy 1: A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University

HWB Communications is relocating to Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village in Greenpoint, Cape Town - "HWB has grown and our new offices will be in in the Cape Quarter Piazzafrom 2 May 2012. ... Also based in these offices will be Diplocom Communications ( our subsidiary agency that deals with public diplomacy and diplomatic communications and intelligence."


Report alleges NATO ‘slips into propaganda’ with ‘Afghan-led’ label - A new report Wednesday by a Kabul-based think-tank accuses international forces of misleading the public by calling military operations “Afghan-led” even in cases where NATO or U.S. forces are the only troops take part. The charge cuts to the heart of a public perception battle being waged in Afghanistan, where international troops are eager to showcase successes by Afghan forces and to downplay the role played by international soldiers as NATO draws down forces and hands over security to Afghan control.

The United States and other nations that make up the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have already started pulling out troops with the goal of putting Afghans in charge of countrywide security by the end of 2014. The alliance wants to show that Afghans are up to the task so that the country does not descend into civil strife after 10 years of a NATO-led war against Taliban and al-Qaida militants. “ISAF’s desire to present accounts of events as favourably as possible is to be expected, but sometimes this slips into propaganda, half-truths and, occasionally, cover up,” said British analyst Kate Clark, the author of the report by the Kabul-based think-tank Afghan Analysts Network. Image from, with caption: An U.S. Army soldier takes photos of the eyes of an Afghan man.

What we owe Afghanistan: The U.S. has a moral responsibility to aid the country, but not to the extent of fighting its wars - Editorial, U.S. officials perhaps are being too sanguine about the Afghans' ability to assume responsibility for security and reconstruction. Nevertheless, the U.S. combat role is coming to an end, as it should after a decade of war and the loss of nearly 2,000 American lives. So long as that process continues, there is nothing objectionable about continued — but limited — economic and military aid, including, if necessary, the presence in Afghanistan of a few thousand U.S. military trainers. Nor is a continued U.S. role incompatible with peace negotiations between the Karzai government and the Taliban.

Afghanistan requires our patience - Michael OHanlon and Bruce Riedel, USA Today: Long ago, we squandered the chance for a clean victory in Afghanistan, but catastrophic defeat can likely be avoided as long as we are patient over the next two-and-a-half years — on the battlefield, in diplomatic and development efforts, and in peace talks.

White House approves broader Yemen drone campaign - Greg Miller, Washington Post: The United States has begun launching drone strikes

against suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen under new authority approved by President Obama that allows the CIA and the military to fire even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known, U.S. officials said. Image from

U.S. foreign policy, close to home: Op-Ed Improved trade and economic ties with Latin American countries would benefit the U.S., if we help strengthen democracy and security in the region - Marco Rubio, Los Angeles Times: The United States cannot afford to keep putting Latin America on the back burner as it focuses the bulk of its attention on Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The Western Hemisphere holds significant strategic interest for the U.S. — as well as enormous promise.
Efforts should be focused in four key areas: building a democratic movement, enhancing trade and economic ties, cooperating on energy issues and building and strengthening security alliances. Marco Rubio is a Republican U.S. senator from Florida

House proposes $5 billion cut for State Department and foreign operations - Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy: The House Appropriations Committee proposed cutting the State Department and foreign operations budget by more than $5 billion next year, in its annual allocations released Tuesday. The Obama administration actually requested modest increases in funding for the State Department and USAID for fiscal 2013 when it released its budget request in February. While the Congress doesn't divide up the accounts the same way as the administration, in an apples-to-apples comparison, the House Appropriations Committees' allocation for State and foreign operations for fiscal 2013, $48.4 billion, would represent a 12 percent cut from the administration's $54.71 billion request for the same accounts.

Reality Fails to Make Impact in Washington - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Obama seemingly supports these autocratic moves by Malaki in appointing a new US Ambassador who is openly opposed by non-Malaki supporters, to the point where they are talking about refusing to meet with him. That refusal to even meet could possibly affect efforts at unification, what do you think?

McCain: Pentagon briefing on Secret Service prostitution scandal worthless - Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy: The Pentagon sent officials to brief Senate Armed Services Committee leaders on the military's involvement in the Cartagena prostitution scandal that is roiling the Secret Service, but the lead Republican on the committee ripped the briefers Wednesday for their unpreparedness. "Chairman [Carl] Levin and I met today with representatives of the Joint Staff with the expectation of receiving information on the ongoing investigation into possible misconduct involving military personnel during the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. We requested this briefing to inform us as to any national security implications resulting from such misconduct," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said in statement. The DOD briefers did not even know the date President Barack Obama arrived or the name of the senior military commander on the ground in Cartagena, McCain said.

Marine who criticized President Obama on Facebook to be discharged -, The U.S. Marine Corps has decided to discharge a sergeant for criticizing President Barack Obama on Facebook.

The Corps said Wednesday that Sgt. Gary Stein will be given an other-than-honorable discharge for violating Pentagon policy limiting speech of service members. Image from article, with caption: Gary Stein, a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, learned Wednesday that he will be discharged from the military for his online comments criticizing the Obama administration.

Prostitute Plans to Sue US Embassy - Associated Press, New York Times: SAO PAULO A Brazilian prostitute plans to sue the U.S. Embassy, three Marines, an American staff member and one of the Embassy's Brazilian drivers for injuries caused when she allegedly was pushed out of a van in Brasilia, her attorney said Thursday. The attorney described his client as a "sex professional and dancer" who met the four Americans at the Apples nightclub on Dec. 29, 2011. She and three other women left with the men in three vehicles, including two belonging to the embassy.

Secret Service Scandal Slides Over Embassy Gate, Creeps into US Embassy Brasilia, US Embassy San Salvador and the Where Else Bar - Domani Spero, DiploPundit

Why Do They Hate Us? The real war on women is in the Middle East - Mona Eltahamy, Foreign Policy: "[L]et's put aside what the United States does or doesn't do to women.

Name me an Arab country, and I'll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend." Image from article

As violence continues unchecked in Syria, so does cyber warfare - Emily Alpert in Los Angeles and Rima Marrouch in Beirut, The Internet has become another battleground in Syria, with rebels and government loyalists hacking into websites to undercut one another with online propaganda and misinformation. Backers of President Bashar Assad have formed the Syrian Electronic Army, which recently hacked the Twitter and Facebook accounts of a Saudi Arabian news channel, Al Arabiya, to spread fake news of a coup and a deadly explosion in Qatar, a nation that has called for arming the Syrian rebels. One of the Al Arabiya channels was repeatedly jammed when it tried to air news about allegedly leaked emails between Assad and his wife, the network said. And in late March, its Facebook page was hacked for a few hours with visitors seeing a lengthy statement criticizing the channel's its coverage of Syria.

Iran shrugs off Israeli claims on arms delivery bid to Gaza - Iran’s permanent representative at the UN has dismissed the recent Israeli claims about an alleged arms smuggling bid by Tehran to the Gaza Strip as an obtrusive feature of Tel Aviv’s warmongering policies and psychological propaganda campaign.

Image from article, with caption: Iran’s Ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaei

Television for the elite: Is there any hope for Medvedev’s plan to create public television? - Alexander Vostrov, Russia Beyond the Headlines: Russia’s recent parliamentary and presidential elections, and especially the massive protests that followed, highlighted the need for public television in the country. These events in particular showed that the government-controlled channels fell short of the middle class’ growing demands for information. At best, they can offer plain propaganda made according to Soviet templates.

At worst, it’s unprofessional propaganda. The pro-Kremlin media do not cover embarrassing events, such as scandals over vote-rigging at polling stations. The flip side of the coin is that independent media, such as the Dozhd (Rain) channel, try to report on all events, but because of their limited resources they often have no chance to do due diligence on their coverage, which results in frequent mistakes appearing on air. Now, however, it seems that the opposition’s demands for objectivity have not fallen on deaf ears. President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree to create public television in Russia, set a timeline for its creation and outlined the plan for the new media outlet’s work. But the opposition was, if anything, even more enraged by this act, and their complaints may be justified. Public television will be public in name only. The director general and chief editor of the channel will be appointed by the president, as will the members of the supervisory board; the project will be financed by the state treasury and will use the facilities of the Defense Ministry’s channel, Zvezda (Star). Image from entry

Expert: Azeri shelling aims to maintain dictatorship in country - In response to the victory parade Stepanakert is due to host on May 9, Azerbaijan wants to prove its ability to control the situation at the contact line, Armenian military expert said. David Jamalyan characterized Azeri shelling at contact line with NKR defense army and on border with Armenia as demonstration of power, necessary for domestic propaganda. “Maintenance of tension and reinforcement of the “enemy image” is the product of propaganda by Azerbaijani authorities aimed at retaining dictatorship in the country,” the expert said. On May 9, Artsakh will celebrate three holidays - Victory Day of Great Patriotic War, 20th anniversary of Shoushi’s liberation and formation of NKR defense army.

German Embassy Responded to Propaganda Attacks Against German Government In Azerbaijani State Media - April 26 the German Embassy made a statement due to the publication on April 18 in the organ of the ruling party "Yeni Azerbaijan" and other anti-German materials in the pro-government media. "The newspaper launched its offensive on the German political circles, creating a dangerous atmosphere of insincerity and breaking the culture of open discussion," the statement reads. "However, attempts to spoil the positive image of Germany by gross speculation, are doomed to failure because of the intellectual level of the Azerbaijanis," emphasizes the embassy.

Feature - The influence of the new cardinals - On Saturday April 21, a little more than two months after the last consistory, the new cardinals were finally assigned their positions as members of the various dicasteries of the Roman curia, the most important of which are the nine congregations. This procedure indicates the real and specific influence of each cardinal in assisting Benedict XVI in the governance of the universal Church. The most prestigious congregation of the Roman curia is the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, to which three of the new cardinals have been appointed: the Indian George Alencherry, the leading archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church, and the Italian curia members

Fernando Filoni, prefect of "Propaganda Fide," and Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the pontifical council for legislative texts. Four of the new cardinals, all of them from the curia, have been selected as members of the congregation for bishops. They are the Portuguese Manuel Monteiro de Castro, until January the secretary of this same dicastery and now the major penitentiary, the Spaniard Santos Abril y Castelló, archpriest of the basilica of Saint Mary Major, and the Italians Giuseppe Bertello, president of the governorate of Vatican City, and Giuseppe Versaldi, president of the prefecture of economic affairs of the Holy See. Monteiro, Abril, and Bertello have been apostolic nuncios. Abril and Bertello have also been appointed as members of "Propaganda Fide." Image from article

Propaganda or art? - "Dzhanik Fayziev's film August Eighth caused an ambiguous reaction among the audience. Experts pointed out its political commitment and blamed the director for copying Hollywood clichés. Nevertheless, experts Vladimir Menshov, Alexei Mukhin and Alexander Kots liked the film. Dzhanik Fayziev, director and producer: Not only in the name of the topic but also in people’s minds there is a strange general understanding of the subject. When they speak for instance about 'August the Eighth' and say that it is propaganda, I always ask them what they mean. 'You propagate some ideas translated by the state.' I reply 'Where did you see that I retranslate the state? What if these are my personal beliefs? Is it propaganda or not?' They go silent. When these are my personal ideas, it is not propaganda, it is the personal position of a specific citizen of the Russian Federation, Dzhanik Fayziev. But if somebody brings me these ideas on a piece of paper, and if I disagree with them, then it is propaganda. It was very strange. When I added that the word 'propaganda' is translated from Latin as 'meant for distribution', we completely lose our direction, and the consensus about terminology becomes very important. As for the subject, any art, theatre, painting, cinema, will not resonate and attract attention if it does not speak about topics interesting for the audience. ... Vladimir Menshov, Head of the selection group of the Russian Oscar Committee: Cinema was always seen as important, because it is the struggle for

minds in your country. One of the first people to recognize this was Goebbels, he had a powerful cinema that promoted Hitler’s regime. Stalin also understood it, and so did the Americans. And now we can see that any American movie has an explicit or implicit glorification of America. Yesterday I accidentally watched some film , 'Contact', about space, I was attracted by Robert Zemeckis. But it is amazingly biased towards Americans, who organize this flight, get this message, they allegedly choose from 20 candidates from Earth, but we see only the American ones, the American president, and you get it into your being that America is the best. ... Alexei Mukhin, General Director, Center of political information: Did we lose the information war? No, this is the first time that we did not lose the information war. We lost it in the 1990s, when we started thinking with our belly and not with our head and heart. ... The aim of the information war is to soften brains so that they can easily be governed from outside. This is what the Hollywood industry is based on. It pushes the idea that the world will collapse without the US. That's fine if you understand it. It's good that if you understand the laws of the information war, the attacks on your worldview stop working." Image from article

Inglourious Basterds - Quentin Tarantino claims he doesn’t think about what his movies might mean until they’re in the can, but when it comes to the long-in-the-works Inglourious Basterds, it’s hard to believe he didn’t have some higher purpose in mind from the start. This is a movie about the power of propaganda—movies, rumors, campaigns of terror, and the like—to shape the perceptions and directions of world events, and it ends with

a twist that gives cinema the ultimate victory over history. The brilliance of Inglourious Basterds is that while setting up this layered meditation on World War II archetypes, Tarantino also delivers a potent revenge fantasy about Jewish warriors, with memorable characters, bravura setpieces, and flavorful dialogue, much of it in foreign languages. Image from article

Bavaria to print 'unattractive' new edition of Mein Kampf - Tony Paterson, Bavaria has announced plans to publish a specially annotated version of Adolf Hitler's manifesto Mein Kampf in an attempt to prevent neo-Nazis exploiting the book for propaganda purposes when its copyright expires in three years' time.

The racist autobiography has been effectively banned in Germany since the end of the Second World War. The state of Bavaria, which owns the copyright, has repeatedly blocked attempts to publish new editions of the book because of fears it would encourage a rebirth of the far right. However the copyright expires at the end of 2015. Bavaria says its plan to publish a "commercially unattractive" copy is designed to prevent the book being used for propaganda. Image from article

These Soviet Space-Race Propaganda Posters Retain Their Delusional Intensity 50 Years Later - Among the posters:

Soviet Propaganda Stack Filtering 6 - John Dalton, Another image from Dalton's recent series of posts that use stack filtering to process a movie file that consists of old soviet propaganda poster images:

HALT THE HUN, A WW1 Propaganda Poster - HALT THE HUN, 1918. An Original WW1 propaganda poster created by Henry Raleigh (1880-1945) for the Third Liberty Loan campaign in which the general public were encouraged to buy U.S. Government Bonds:


Kim Kardashian is Photoshop's latest victim - Jennifer Romolini, Shine: "I won't lie to you, readers. I have been staring at the images at left, on and off, for at least two hours. They depict celebreality star Kim Kardashian, pre- and post-airbrushing, for a feature in Complex magazine, and they are, to me anyway, beyond fascinating." Via NS on facebook


"Kony is so last month."

--"Kony 2012 Cover the Night fails to move from the internet to the streets," The Guardian; image from article, with caption: A shot from Kony 2012 documentary projected on a New York building. Via ACP III on facebook. See also


(Loose translation: "The world-of-sanitation store: The morning does not start with coffee"); via AM on facebook


--Police Headquarters in Mestia, Georgia; via VO on facebook


Via ALT on facebook