Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19

"The success or failure of a country's foreign policy and its ability to preserve peace will depend upon the reliability of the diplomat's reports."

--Political scientist Hans Morgenthau (1948); cited in Hannah Gurman, The Dissent Papers: The Voices of Diplomats in the Cold War and Beyond (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), p.199; image from


Trillion-Dollar Jet’s Awesomely Bad Propaganda Videos - Spencer Ackerman, Wired


Public Diplomacy and POTUS Visits - Brian Carlson, Public Diplomacy Council: "The current flap over misbehaving Secret Service agents in Cartagena is worth not much more than an amused 'tsk-tsk' to most Americans. But, in fact, this incident underlines a problem faced by public diplomacy officers every time and every place the President travels. There are simply too many people involved in Presidential travel. And many of them

have not much real work to do, which leaves them lots of time to get into mischief. ... Presidential visits abroad should be planned and carried out efficiently and with a low profile. Instead, for many, they are a chance to prove the importance of an agency’s mission, an ego-boosting opportunity for 'proximity to power,' and a lark for favored employees. Too often Air Force One leaves an indelible impression of American excess in its wake. It is time for someone in Washington to take responsibility for Presidential visits." Image from

Secret Service supervisors involved in Colombia scandal identified - David Nakamura and Carol D. Leonning, Washington Post:  “One of the Secret Service supervisors who were ousted from the agency this week for their involvement in the Colombia prostitution scandal made light of his official protective work on his Facebook page, joking about a picture of himself standing watch behind Sarah Palin.

David Randall Chaney, 48,  ... who had been a supervisor in the Secret Service’s international programs division, retired under pressure Wednesday, according to people familiar with an internal agency investigation into the allegations that 11 agents and uniformed officers participated in a night of carousing April 11 ahead of President Obama’s visit to the Summit of the Americas.”  Via ACP III on Facebook. Image from

Intellectual Property Training Programs Funded - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson,  U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC: “As part of U.S. efforts to combat transnational crime and promote the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) worldwide, the U.S. Department of State has approved twelve projects totaling $2.6 million in Fiscal Year 2011 anticrime funds. These projects will enable U.S. law enforcement agencies and diplomatic missions to collaborate on the delivery of IPR protection criminal enforcement training and technical assistance programs for foreign law enforcement partners. Training and technical assistance in the investigation and prosecution of IPR crime will be provided to foreign law enforcement partners in nations across the Pacific Rim, Latin America, and sub-Saharan Africa. The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs selected the projects after considering input from the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, other federal agencies, our overseas missions, Congress, and industry representatives. ... 7) Colombia $70,000 [:] Training for the Colombia National Police

on combating IPR crime." Image from, with following commentary: Bogotá, Colombia
If you are lucky in “The Life” and have the pleasure of swooping a fly Colombiana and she invites you to a big Colombian Family Gathering, jump like House of Pain at the opportunity. The other night I went over to the palatial casa of the family of a fly Colombiana that I am having a Mini-Relationship with. It was dope: We walk in, and there are 6 different women cooking in the kitchen; La Madre, Hermanas, Primas, Abuelas, Sobrinas etc. My girl tells me to sit down with her 2 Suited Down Primos and El Padre and jumps into the fray in the kitchen. The women continue to bring me non-stop cervezas as I kick back and rap out with the other 3 men present about football, boxing and biz. I don’t have to lift a finger. Little primas jump all over me until I tell them to chill out as I don’t want them to wrinkle up my Custom Suit or spill Postobon Manzana on my luxurious fabrics. We then feast on mindblowing Ajiaco, Bandeja Paisa, Morcilla, Chicharrón, and mad Arepas. Mad Aguilas. We have like 16 women catering to our every need. This is how Life should be. And its quite a sharp contrast from American girls that can’t cook their way out of a brown paper bag. And I don’t mean that DJ Khaled track either.

The social media peace corps: No amount of PR or rebranding techniques can address the primary goal of neutralising anti-American sentiment - Mehrunnisa Qayyum, Ramah Kudaimi - "[O]ur public diplomacy strategy continues to be divorced from our foreign policy. What the State Department either fails to realise or refuses to address is that no amount of PR or rebranding techniques can address the primary goal of neutralising anti-American sentiment - because the problem is not that Arabs don't get the US message, but rather that they get it loud and clear every time the US chooses to support oppressive regimes instead of promoting human rights. From a pragmatic point of view, why would anyone decide to change his or her point of view about the US just because a newer technology is projecting the same message? It is like turning the volume up (or down) on a new song by the same musical artist. The voice is the same. Obama might choose to overlook US support for the 24-year dictatorial regime of Zine El Abedine Ben Ali, but the people of Tunisia won't be quick to forgive and forget just because Americans are now coming to teach them English, or that there are US agencies Tweeting job tips to them. Maybe it's time for the US to engage in 'raw listening' and realise that the problem isn't that way

the message is being relayed - but the message itself." Image from

U.S. assistance to Pakistan buys little goodwill - Michele Langevine Leiby, Washington Post: "In recent years, no matter how much money the United States gives Pakistan — and in fiscal 2010 it was the No. 2-ranked recipient of military and economic assistance behind Afghanistan — the average Pakistani eyes U.S. motivations with extreme skepticism. 'Any goodwill generated by U.S. aid is offset by widespread anti-American sentiment among the Pakistani people,' says a report released last week by the Congressional Research Service. And Pakistanis are not the only ones exhibiting leeriness: After Osama bin Laden was discovered hiding in plain sight for years not far from Pakistan’s primary military academy, Americans questioned more harshly whether Pakistan was a reliable ally in the decade-old war on terror. Yet U.S. assistance to Pakistan has continued. ... In 2011, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan began

requiring that the American flag be added to the USAID logo so that recipients would know the source of assistance, the report notes. But aid workers objected, fearing that such branding could lead to militant attacks. Anti-American sentiment related to 'perceived gross sovereignty violations,' including the raid that killed bin Laden, has forced the U.S. to minimize its 'footprint' when providing aid, particularly in the northwestern tribal region, according to the report. 'This has meant that some projects are conducted in ways similar to covert operations under the cover of Pakistani government agencies,' the report says, noting that 'public diplomacy gains can be sacrificed when aid beneficiaries are unaware of the origin of the assistance they are receiving.' Still, as both countries work to normalize their contentious relationship, there is no indication that the United States plans to change its approach to assistance to Pakistan." Image from, with caption: Pakistanis hang Obama in effigy

U.S. Embassy Manila Launches Mini-Series – Kwentuhan Tayo, Pinoy-Style, and There’s Baluuut! - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "Last week, the US Embassy in Manila launched a new video mini-series on YouTube, called Kwentuhan Tayo, Pinoy-Style! (roughly means let’s tell stories or something like that). The introduction video features six American diplomats speaking about their lives in the Philippines in Filipino. This is reportedly the first Filipino-language video series to be offered by the Embassy."

American Avatar - Review - Anthony C. E. Quainton, American Diplomacy: "In this somewhat bizarrely named book – American Avatar – with its vaguely Hindu and Star Wars associations Barry Sanders seeks to identify the true embodiment of the American experience, to explain American values and to suggest ways in which America’s image can be projected more effectively on a globalized world. ... Having explained why the beauty of America is the eye of the beholder, Sanders goes on to elaborate ways in which the United States can change hostile external predispositions. America, he says, must be steadfast; it must emphasize that it is an open society, which is capable of listening. Americans must accept their obligation to act in the interests of others, not only in their own self-interest. America must be compassionate and must act consistently with its philosophical principles of democracy and human rights. Above all it must tell the truth. Much of this is familiar fare to practitioners of public diplomacy. However, it is easier to propound these nostrums than to put them into effect. America, like other countries, is driven by self-interest. Publics are skeptical of compassion and generosity as guiding principles of engagement with the world.

And listening is not something that is easy to do when one lacks the linguistic, cultural or historical basis from which to hear and understand what others are saying. Sanders makes several final useful points. America should not change its policies just to appease foreign critics, nor should it surrender to the often biased and ill-informed opinions of bloggers and the World Wide Web. In short America must be itself at its best. That it is a sentiment with which it is hard to disagree. Overall American Avatar provides a fascinating insight into the question so often posed after 9/11: Why do they hate us? Sanders provides useful answers to that question and some practical guidelines for those who seek to do something about it. He writes with ease and panache. For those, like Sanders, who care about America’s image in the world, the book makes fascinating and productive reading. Notwithstanding the sweeping nature of his generalizations, there is much in this book from which public diplomats could profitably learn. It should be a standard text for those who teach and study public diplomacy in the 21st century." Image from

Fusion for Peace group touts appearance on VOA Persian News Network. And more VOA PNN in the news - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

RFA Tibetan covers Dalai Lama visit with video. VOA Tibetan covers Dalai Lama visit with video - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

BBG considers new strategy and reversal of plannedbroadcasting cuts to China and Tibet -  BBG Watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: “In response to overwhelming criticism from human rights groups, journalists and one of its members, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) will consider a new China strategy and reversal of its planned cuts to Voice of America (VOA) Tibetan and Chinese broadcasts and online news content. The BBG Strategy and Budget Committee has requested and received a new China strategy document from a working group composed of BBG and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) officials and the heads of the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia (RFA). One of the recommendations in the new strategy document is the restoration of all funding for China broadcasts, a major reversal of the executive staff’s earlier position.

This includes VOA Tibetan radio and its online radio news content and all of VOA Cantonese radio, television and Internet news. Echoing the warnings of their critics often expressed on the unofficial BBG Watch website, the BBG and IBB executive staff has now concluded that ‘As America’s focus on China’s role in the world sharpens, the BBG must develop a more global vision for China.’ ‘Failure to reach out to China’s 1.3 billion people cannot be an option for the United States at this point in history,’ the new BBG China strategy document states.”  Image from entry, with caption: Shanghai China City Skyline Panorama with Sun Rays"

Public diplomacy draws crowd at London Book Fair - Li Huiru, "While the first day of the London Book Fair (LBF) saw debut authors drawing interest, day two was headlined by veterans like renowned China image polisher Zhao Qizheng, who unveiled his two new books on public diplomacy. 'Cross-Border Dialogue,' available in both Chinese and English, pools dialogues between Zhao and senior government officials and top experts from countries around the world. It covers a wide spectrum of public diplomacy topics, contrasting ideas and combining wisdom from the East and the West. The rise of China and its engagement with the rest of the world has been felt all over the world. Speaking at the launch ceremony, Zhao compared the situation to a community where an affluent neighbor moves in: The first response of the residents in this community would be curious and alert. This is what the other countries in the world think about China.

'Public diplomacy is a kind of dialogue between different civilizations,' Zhao said. 'What China has to do is to explain China's real conditions to the world and strengthen mutual understanding between the Chinese people and the global community, and to promote the development of friendly relations.' 'How China Communicates' is based on Zhao's ample experiences in practicing public diplomacy. He touches upon important topics with interesting stories that give readers a behind-the-scenes look at public diplomacy works in a complicated environment. ... Michael Hoey, Professor from University of Liverpool, said intercultural communication is of great importance for successful public diplomacy. He suggested the English audience to listen more carefully to China in the future and gain more understanding from China. 'The success of public diplomacy depends upon there being a truthful, honest and friendly relationship between the people of the countries engaging in dialogue,' he said." Image from article, with caption: Zhao Qizheng demonstrates his theory on public diplomacy to the audiences attending his new books launch.

Committee of 100 Survey Reveals Rare Glimpse into China's Hopes and Fears: Key Findings Underscore Critical Need to Improve U.S.-China Trust and Cooperation - Press Release, "A new survey conducted by The Committee of 100 (C-100), a national non-partisan, non-profit Chinese-American cultural-exchange advocacy organization, reveals that, despite growing mistrust, citizens from both nations acknowledge the need for improved political and business cooperation and diplomacy. The C-100 study provides insight into a broad swath of U.S. and Chinese perceptions of U.S.-China relations and compares them to its similar 2007 'mirror' survey. ... The study concludes that improving international trust through greater public diplomacy, educational exchange, and leadership initiatives will be instrumental in effectively easing international tensions and nurturing common interests. Identification of actionable opportunities for collaboration and trust-building will continue at the C-100's 21st Annual Conference which begins today in Pasadena, California."

Learning Public Diplomacy in Europe — China: Still Center of Controversy - Huiquan Liu, "In Paris, whenever I’m asked where I am from, I have difficulty in giving a short answer. I am a Chinese national, which is apparent from my Asian face, but I’m also on exchange to a French university from an American graduate school. For many, however, the fact that I’m studying public diplomacy (PD) in France, a fancy new subject that is coined by an American is more confusing than my trajectory of school life. Here I am in Paris, attending a class called 'Public diplomacy and international communication'.

Unlike in the Elliott School where my classmates were mostly either from Asia or the US, here in my public diplomacy class in Sciences Po (Paris), the classroom is composed of students from all over the world including India, Canada, Columbia, Nigeria, France, Britain, the US, China, etc. The benefit of a diverse class background is that I can always hear an insider explaining the public diplomacy of his or her country, as well as their views on China. These opinions, which arise in almost every class and form a fierce debate afterwards, however, have shocked me from time to time. Controversy #1: 'PD in a non-democracy never works.' ... Controversy #2: China + Syria = China’s failure in PD." Huiquan Liu image from entry

Turkey between two heinous propaganda campaigns - Bülent Keneş, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu attended NATO meetings in Brussels on Wednesday and the Friends of the Syrian People conference in Paris on Thursday as part of his two-day visit to Europe, and speaking to Turkish journalists covering the visit, noted that Turkey is not pushing the Syrian issue on its own and that it is not being dragged by other countries into the process. 'Some criticize us for going too far or standing back more than any other country with respect to the crisis in Syria. We are tending to this crisis through its natural course. We are neither dragging anyone nor being dragged by anyone,' he said in an effort to underline the fact that this crisis is not a bilateral matter between Turkey and Syria. Why Mr. Davutoğlu felt the need to make this assertion is obvious as both Western and Eastern sources have been waging incredible propaganda campaigns against Turkey. Unfortunately, these negative propaganda efforts are having an impact on the public opinion in neighboring and Western countries.In this context, it can be argued that Turkish public diplomacy efforts are considerably insufficient and the government is seriously failing in its public relations efforts to explain the country’s foreign policy decisions to the public.

Despite the fact that months of labor, studies and making contacts are needed to make foreign policy decisions, any change of attitude in the country’s foreign policy is perceived as a sharp turn or a serious shift as only the announcement and impact of such a change are visible to the public. The government and the Foreign Ministry are having great difficulties explaining these changes, which are perceived by the public as abrupt shifts or sharp U-turns. As a result, not only friendly or hostile foreign public opinion, but also Turkish public opinion is influenced by the strong negative propaganda efforts from the West and the East that consider everything, including lies, distortion of facts and fabricated news stories, as acceptable." Image from

Women account for Public Diplomacy [Google translation] - Public Affairs: "In der Auseinandersetzung um den richtigen Umgang mit dem Bürgerkrieg in Syrien, haben sich jetzt zwei Botschaftergattinnen eingeschaltet. In the debate over how to deal with the civil war in Syria, two ambassadors' wives have now turned on. In einem Video auf YouTube kontrastieren sie den aufwändigen Lebensstil von Asma Assad, der Gattin des syrischen Machthabers, mit den blutigen Bildern des Krieges gegen die dortige Bevölkerung. In a video on YouTube, they contrast the lavish lifestyle of Asma Assad, wife of the Syrian ruler, with the bloody images of war against the local population. Dabei fällt auf Assad ein Portrait aus der Vogue zurück, das sie in einem absoluten Luxusumfeld zeigt. It falls back on a portrait of Assad of Vogue, which shows her in an ultra-luxury environment. Erscheinungsdatum war zu einem Zeitpunkt, als die syrische Demokratiebewegung gerade mit Gewalt niedergeschlagen wurde. Publication date was at a time when the Syrian pro-democracy movement has just been crushed by force. In dem YouTube Video kommen die beiden Gattinnen des britischen bzw. deutschen UN-Botschafters zu Wort. In the YouTube video, the two wives of the British and German UN ambassador to speak. Huberta von Voss-Wittig und Sheila Lyall Grant rufen Asma Assad darin auf, die Machenschaften ihres Ehegatten zu stoppen. Huberta Voss Wittig and Sheila Lyall Grant call Asma Assad is to stop the machinations of her husband. Sie geben damit ein schönes Beispiel (weiblicher) Public Diplomacy. They therefore give a good example (female) public diplomacy. Nachstehend das von Al Jazeera gepostete Video. Below the video posted by Al Jazeera."

Bar-Ilan University hosts Chicago Summit 2012 - "The world is at a crucial crossroads and the Middle East, and Israel in particular is at its junction. The Bar-Ilan School of Communication of Israel is organizing a week of events in Chicago and the suburbs beginning Tuesday, May 1 and continuing through Sunday May 6. Just a few days before the NATO summit will take place in Chicago, participants will have the opportunity to listen to academic experts and ask them the questions they need answered. Bar-Ilan is reaching out to Jews and Christians; men and women; and people of different nationalities, who will be impacted by current events and where they may lead. The six-day event features presentations, lectures and panel discussions. [A] [s]chedule of dates, speakers, topics and locations for Today's Middle East: Challenges, Leadership, Communications ... include[s]: ... Public Diplomacy as a Tool in Israel Advocacy[,] Professor Eytan Gilboa Tuesday, May 1, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. ... Israel Brandjacked? - The De-legitimization and Demonization of Israel and How to Combat it [,] Professor Eytan Gilboa and Professor Guy Golan Thursday, May 3, 12 - 1:30 p.m."

World Cup 2014 – Brazil’s chance to shine - Bia, Public and Cultural Diplomacy 6: A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University: "Brazil is well known around the world for their football techniques and players that are considered peerless in the field. Brazilians players are already ‘branded’ as unique so the country.

The propaganda around the coming event to happen in 2014, is confirming the brand that Brazil already had making it simple to attract the eyes of the world to this welcoming nation. According to Anholt, countries, when promoting their brand, must develop their infra-structure, culture and always promote the reality and not base their public diplomacy on more than they are able to offer. Brazil has several construction work and other infrastructural projects in the twelve cities that will be hosting matches in 2014. The World Cup is a great opportunity to advertise Brazil as a tourist destination and also offers a chance to showcase their positive image in a broader sense." Image from entry

China, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, the Arab world, and the Vatican: New Books on Public Diplomacy Span the Globe - Mary Jeffers, Lists a number of titles with summary of contents.


Karzai, citing body-parts photos, calls for quicker U.S. exit - Laura King, President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that a speeded-up departure of Western troops from his country is the only way to prevent a recurrence of "painful experiences" such as the sight of American soldiers posing with the body parts of dead insurgents. In a statement issued by the presidential palace 24 hours after the

Los Angeles Times published photos showing U.S. troops manipulating the remains of suicide bombers and mugging for the camera, Karzai called the behavior depicted "inhumane and provocative." The Obama administration has condemned the actions shown in the photos, and the U.S. military has launched an investigation of the incidents, which took place in 2010 but have only now come to light. The palace statement said Karzai sought an "accelerated and full transition of security responsibilities to Afghan forces, so Afghanistan can take over its own destiny, and thus no such things can be repeated by the foreign forces in Afghanistan." Image from article

Afghanistan photos hurt U.S. plan to leave - Editorial, USA Today: The latest eruption came Wednesday when the Los Angeles Times published photos of smiling U.S. soldiers posing with mangled corpses of dead insurgents in 2010. These and other scandals pose significant risk to the complex U.S. attempt to withdraw from Afghanistan without recreating the circumstances that led to invasion in the first place. What Afghanistan will look like after the troops leave depends largely on who can win more trust: the Taliban, widely despised for the brutality of its pre-2001 rule, or the increasingly disliked NATO troops.

Opposing view: Bring our soldiers home - James Moran, USA Today: Afghanistan is simply no longer a sufficient threat to the domestic security of the U.S. to warrant 65,000 troops and nearly $100 billion in annual spending. Our reasons for invading Afghanistan were to dismantle al-Qaeda and to prevent that country from becoming a haven for terrorists. That objective has been achieved: Osama bin Laden is dead, and al-Qaeda has been largely dismantled in that country.

Doyle McManus: The Iran squeeze - Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times, posted at Share The Obama administration faces two dangers in its nuclear negotiations with Iran, which began in a burst of optimism last weekend after the two sides managed to get through a day and a half of talks without anyone walking out. One danger, of course, is that the talks could fail.

The other is that they might succeed. Failed talks would lead to calls for airstrikes by the U.S. or Israel on Iran's nuclear installations. But even if the talks succeed - or, more precisely, if they succeed only part way - any agreement that comes out of them is certain to draw fire. Image from

NATO After Libya - Editorial, New York Times: Next month’s NATO summit meeting in Chicago will likely feature speeches celebrating the alliance’s past glories. It must be accompanied by hard private bargaining about better burden-sharing and addressing the yawning gaps exposed in Libya. NATO’s credibility is on the line. And that is a serious problem for Europe and for the United States.

Egypt's looming showdown: The banning of Islamist presidential candidates could bring violence back into the streets - Rajan Menon, Should the streets overflow with protesters and the generals eventually unleash the army and police, massive violence could follow. Egypt's uncertain move hina, public diplomacytoward democracy could then be derailed and the country left in turmoil for a long time. If Washington really wants democracy in Egypt, given its long-standing ties to the Egyptian military and intelligence services, now would be a good time to speak up.

The Risk of Exaggerating the China Threat: Don't tailor military power for the Pacific at the expense of the dangerous Middle East - Col. Micheal Eastman, Wall Street Journal

Ukraine at a crossroads - Damon M. Wilson, Washington Post: Ukraine can avoid international ostracism, and perhaps even U.S. and E.U. sanctions, by respecting the independence of the judiciary and allowing all opposition figures, including those in prison, to contest parliamentary elections in October. Ukraine teeters between Eurasian malaise and an ambivalent Europe. As long as the government in Kiev criminalizes political differences, it will find itself in control at home but increasingly isolated internationally. U.S. and European policy should make clear that a democratic Ukraine that makes the right choices is welcome as a member of the transatlantic community.

Secret Service scandal: an embarrassment for Colombian city, too: Officials in Cartagena are protesting the negative image their city is earning amid the blanket coverage of a Secret Service prostitute scandal - Sibylla Brodzinsky, Christian Science Monitor:  Many Colombians are snickering at what they see as American media's obsession with a

prostitute scandal involving Secret Service agents at the Summit of the Americas – chalking it up to the "Puritan legacy" of the United States. But officials in Cartagena are expressing anger at much of the nonstop coverage, saying it casts their city – a colonial gem of cobblestoned streets, surrounded by the extremes of sprawling slums and high-rise luxury – in a bad light. Image from article

US Embassy Denmark: A Flat Stanley-Mission, Well Sort Of, But Not Really – Oh, Confusion! -Domani Spero, DiplPundit: The State Department, including its embassies and consulates overseas are hierarchical creatures. They are all versions of a pyramid with large numbers of people at the bottom and fewer people as you get to the top, arranged in order of rank, grade or class. Members of these structures mainly communicate with their immediate superior and with their immediate subordinates. That’s the way its been since …well, since the beginning of time. Then you get an ambassador who prefers to run her embassy as a “relatively flat organization.” We presume that this includes less management layer, more direct staff input, shorter chain of command, and more direct tasking of entry level officers and other staff. Which cuts off “oversight” and “quality control” by supervisors and midlevel managers; a hallmark of flatter organizations where responsibilities are shifted from levels of management directly to employees, empowering them to take charge. At an embassy where the flat experience without a doubt is limited to a visit by Flat Stanley, there will surely be a clash of undiplomatic proportion which results in some motion sickness and disorientation for everyone. There will be confusion. Of course, the chain of command is suddenly unrecognizable. The more senior officers may suddenly feel like spare wheels and less important. Information as power no longer works. The less senior employees may suddenly feel empowered but also concerned, after all, if the big boss is giving them direct assignments, who will be their rating officers? And if their rating officers or reviewing officers are out of the loop, how do you get a performance review that would snag tenure or promotion? Oh, Confusion, you naughty child of organizational culture clash!

An epitome of Israeli barbarianism - Khalid Amayreh, "As a student of the collective Israeli mindset and long-time observer of Israeli behavioral patterns, I wasn't surprised a bit by Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner's behaviors with Danish peace activist Andreas Las. The Israeli propaganda machine would

want us to believe that the incident was an aberration, a kind of anomaly that in no way represents the true ethos of the Israeli army. But this is untrue. In fact, from my observation of Israeli behavior for decades I can solemnly testify that Eisner's behavior represents the norm rather than the exception. Israeli barbarity, savagery, brutality and incivility, especially toward Palestinians, are too banal and too routine to even warrant raising an eyebrow." Image from article

The Guardian publishes seven-part, multi-lingual "Battle for the Internet" series - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Communication minister says Iran will establish "sort of an intranet," but its purpose will be "to avoid unnecessary costs" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting


--Naked Portlandian man protests TSA screening injustice through nakedness (Boing Boing; includes video)


The Latest From Late Night Comedians

Conan O'Brien: "That Secret Service sex scandal keeps growing. More unfolds every day. Here's the latest, three of the Secret Service agents involved in the sex and cocaine scandal are now leaving the agency. Yeah. On the bright side, they're going to have one hell of a going away party."

Jimmy Kimmel: "The escort claims that the agents said they did not remember agreeing to pay $800, because they were drunk the night before and she refused to leave the room until she got paid. Eventually they settled for $225. These are the guys we should put in charge of negotiating our foreign debt. 'Sorry, China, we really don't remember borrowing. We were drunk. We'll give you a watch and some shoes.'"

Jimmy Kimmel: "Eleven Secret Service men are being investigated. So far, one has been fired, one resigned, one retired and the rest are thinking about leaving just because the party is over. It used to be a fun job and now all they're doing is standing around in sunglasses waiting to take a bullet for somebody they don't really know, which -- what's the point of that?"

--From Bulletin News, LLC


Texting pilot forgets to lower landing gear, nearly crashes - Maybe that annoying ban on using cell phones during a flight should apply to the pilot, too. Two Jetstar pilots had to abort their landing in Singapore a mere 492 feet above the ground when they realized they had forgotten to lower the aircraft's landing gear. How could they overlook such an important detail, you ask? Apparently the captain was too preoccupied texting on his phone.

The plane eventually landed safely. Jetstar now reminds pilots to turn their phones off before takeoff -- meaning pilots who pull similar stunts will have to call their attorneys from the airport, not the cockpit. Image from entry


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