Sunday, April 22, 2012

April 22

"As far as I’m concerned, you are the real ambassadors."

--US Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael McFaul, at a reception and recital at Spaso House, the ambassador’s residence in Moscow, referring to members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing there. Image from article, with caption: CSO music director Riccardo Muti [on the Ambassador's immediate left --JB] talks with U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul


Dead Men Working. Via PVB


CSO in Russia: Musicians jackhammer away at wall between cultures - "The windows were wide open in the standing-room-only Moscow Conservatory classroom as a student demonstrated his French horn technique for Chicago Symphony Orchestra horn player James Smelser amid the sympathetic backing of a young female pianist and the less sympathetic cacophony of buzz saws, jackhammers and random clattering coming from a nearby construction site. ... But to U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, the CSO is part of a 'dual-track engagement' as the embassy works with its host country on political and cultural matters. 'We consider cultural exchange to be a critical part of building ties between the United States and Russia,' McFaul told the CSO musicians."

Techie State Department: Public Diplomacy, Ediplomacy, or Just Buzz? - Joe Johnson, Public Diplomacy Council: "Have you noticed the chatter about the State Department and new media over the past month? ITEM: After a Tumblr blog put captions on photos of Secretary Clinton wearing sunglasses, imagining text messages that she might be sending to celebrities, the Secretary didn’t protest.  She invited the authors to the State Department to meet in person. Public diplomacy can’t buy this kind of publicity. ITEM: The U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, resorted to Twitter (@mcfaul) to complain about harassment, which he attributed to people hacking into his private scheduling records. Not your father’s State Department. ITEM: An Australian study on '21st Century Statecraft,' claiming that the State Department has 150 people working on “ediplomacy” prompted further discussion.  Evgeny Morozov questioned the effectiveness of 'ediplomacy,' noting that Secretary Clinton’s Freedom to Connect speech hasn’t been followed by greater freedom of speech around the globe. The pundits are confusing three different applications of technology in foreign affairs. eDiplomacy. While a specific Office of eDiplomacy does many things, it is mostly aimed at knowledge management, which occurs on social media apps inside the State Department’s network. Public Diplomacy. Maybe this is where the Aussies get 150 e-diplomats. Legions of writers and other content creators have always been there to put out the official and unofficial word. These editorial workers have moved online aggressively, both to follow their audience and also to cut expenses for print and broadcast media production. The ad hoc application of technology to foreign policy problems. Think 'text aid to Haitian relief.' This and similar efforts have been championed by Secretary Clinton’s technology advisor Alec Ross. (Ross was reported to be the person who tipped off Secretary Clinton that she had gone viral on Tumblr.) State and USAID are both using information and other technologies in creative ways for development and assistance. Freedom to Connect, on the other hand, is more about policy than about technology, so that doesn’t really count as an application. These three trends have generated oodles of favorable publicity during Secretary Clinton’s tenure, but they are likely to take different directions afterward.  Meanwhile, the coolness factor is -- well, brilliant public relations." [underlinings my own-- JB]

Many forms of conventional, unconventional intelligence can help our global efforts - Steve Hammons, "The image of the United States around the world is a mixed one. On one hand, the U.S. is still a land of economic opportunity, personal liberty and cultural creativity. On the other hand, some seem to see the U.S. as economic exploiter and imperial aggressor. According to some recent surveys, the people of many nations do not now have a favorable view of the U.S. Or, to be more clear, they don’t have a favorable view of U.S. foreign policy and some aspects of the way the U.S. Government and society have been working in recent years. It’s fair to say that many Americans feel the same way. Immediately after the trauma of the 9/11 attacks, America felt unified and purposeful. Now, a majority of Americans report in surveys that they do not believe the U.S. is going in the right direction. What this means when broken down into specifics is unclear. Undoubtedly some of the factors include the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent guerilla war, inaccurate prewar information that was used to justify it, the suspected real reasons for the Iraq war, the deaths of over 2,000 U.S. troops and injuries to over 15,000, the accompanying torture of prisoners, questions about whether the 9/11 attacks were what they appeared to be and other issues. American cultural influences, too, get mixed reviews at home and internationally. These influences are diverse and have many aspects to them. Some movies, TV and pop music are, arguably, not the most enlightening and uplifting creations. However, there are much deeper and more authentic factors in American culture, though we do not always see them and the international community does not always learn about them.

As a result of concerns that America is no longer as widely viewed as a leader, but sometimes rather as a danger in one way or another, efforts in 'public diplomacy' have been launched. Some of these endeavors are aimed at the international community. And many similar communications efforts have targeted American citizens. Obviously, the situation is far deeper than simply a public relations problem. And it will require more than PR spin and psychological operations (PSYOP). ... A goal then, might be to raise our sights. No, I don’t mean shooting the enemy in the head instead of the chest. I mean gaining scientific and metaphysical intelligence that can contribute to the advancement of the human race. Getting to the next level. Even making a breakthrough of some kind. To accomplish this successfully, we can make good use of OSINT, PSYOP, spiritual viewpoints, military tactics and strategies, and communication and education modalities." Image from entry: united states currency eye by kevin dean via flickr

Broadcasting Board of Governors "forges ahead with China strategy" by maintaining the status quo - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: “Broadcasting Board of Governors press release, 20 Apr 2012: ‘The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) today announced a renewed strategy for broadcasting to China that will be reflected in the ongoing dialogue with Congress about the Agency’s proposed FY 2013 budget. 'China’s highly competitive media market and its government’s aggressive jamming of BBG content are long-standing challenges,' said BBG board member Michael Meehan. 'Beijing blocks media of many kinds and aggressively stifles free expression, especially in regions where dissent continues to arise in the open, such as Tibet.

While the Board understands the reality of the current budget environment, it also perceives a pressing need for the news and information that we provide to be seen and heard across China and Tibet.' In response to inquiries from Congress and other stake-holders, the Agency is developing alternatives that take into account the roles of Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA) Tibetan Radio, along with VOA Cantonese TV programming and VOA satellite TV capability in China. At the April meeting of the BBG Strategy and Budget Committee, the Board asked that key senior staff form a working group to devise a holistic solution for reaching audiences throughout China, including Tibet.’

Committee for US International Broadcasting press release, 21 Apr 2012: ‘The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) has been vindicated by the action of Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) who approved a plan to restore funding in the FY 2013 budget request that the BBG proposed to cut earlier this year for U.S. international broadcasting to China and Tibet. CUSIB applauds efforts by its members to bring this important issue to the attention of the American public. We are also deeply grateful to Mrs. Annette Lantos, a Holocaust survivor and human rights campaigner, who made a powerful plea to the Broadcasting Board of Governors in defense of Voice of America programs to China, Tibet, and Russia. CUSIB also thanks its Advisory Board members Reggie Littlejohn, founder and president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, and Jing Zhang, founder and president of Women’s Rights in China, for their efforts to show how VOA and Radio Free Asia (RFA) radio and television broadcasts help women in China who are victims of human rights abuses.’
CUSIB is justified in taking credit for the preservation of the VOA Mandarin and Tibetan radio services. Its efforts seem to have brought pressure on the BBG to delay its previous decision about broadcasting to China and TibetThe victory, however, is pyrrhic. It is very difficult to get reliable news out of China and Tibet, and to get that news back into China and Tibet. Furthermore, most Chinese have hundreds channels of entertainment and information via video and internet media. In this challenging environment, US international broadcasting is attempting to succeed with two entities that split scarce money, resources, and talent, while duplicating their efforts. Just three days ago, in this website, we saw an example of this duplication. RFA Tibetan and VOA Tibetan both sent people to shoot video of the Dalai Lama's visit to the United States. In San Diego, ‘[a]mong the 50 or more media members waiting to cover the talk were Tibetan-born, Washington, D.C.-based reporters for the Voice of America's Tibetan Service and Radio Free Asia.’ That video was used for RFA's and VOA's separate Tibetan broadcasts and websites The Obama Administration has announced its intention to reduce duplication in the US government. The pervasive duplication in US international broadcasting being such an obvious target, it is only a matter of time before before the BBG comes under the scrutiny of the OMB. The BBG, however, did not create the duplication. Congress did, most egregiously in 1994 by establishing Radio Free Asia based on the entirely false premise that VOA did not broadcast news about its target countries. (They somehow forgot VOA's extensive coverage of the Tiananmen Square protests, just five years earlier.) The BBG might try to eliminate the duplication by ordering the USIB entities to adhere to their oft-stated but mostly unobserved mandates. The Radio Free stations would broadcast news about the target countries. VOA would broadcast US and general world news -- and lose most of its audience, because people mostly want to hear about what's happening in their own countries. In the competitive global media environment, however, audiences will not put up with the inconvenience of having to tune to two US broadcasting services to get complete news coverage. They will not pay this price to keep the USIB entities intact. No matter how you slice or dice the ‘many brands’ strategy of US international broadcasting, the outcome is unsatisfactory, both for the audiences and for the US taxpayers. The Board has ‘asked that key senior staff form a working group to devise a holistic solution for reaching audiences throughout China, including Tibet.’ They haven't asked for this already? In any case, I, as non-key junior staff, formed a working group of one, mostly working on the Metro during my commute home, resulting in this holistic strategy for US broadcasting to China, published in May 2011 by the Public Diplomacy Council.”Image from article

"Broadcasting Board of Governors $50 million contract with Gallup is available online - BBG Watcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: 'BBG Watch is publishing a link to the controversial Broadcasting Board of Governors’(BBG) $50,000,000 audience research contract with Gallup. We were told that this copy was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Many segments of the contract were blacked out by BBG officials. Critics point out that conducting BBG-relevant audience research through telephone and face-to-face interviews in countries like China ruled by authoritarian regimes produces unreliable and often highly misleading results which are then used my BBG strategists to justify important programming decisions. As most BBG members were voting to approve this $50 million five year contract, they also accepted a recommendation from BBG strategic planners to end Voice of America (VOA) radio broadcasts to Tibet and to close down the VOA Cantonese Service which broadcasts to China. Critics charge that these recommendations were based on faulty audience research provided to the BBG by another contractor. Critics argue that Gallup is not expected to offer the BBG better quality research. They point out that Gallup has already informed the BBG that most people in China consider their domestic media to be largely free. China experts view this finding as unreliable. As BBG strategists were pushing for the approval of the $50,000,000 contract, they were proposing terminating programs and firing more than 200 journalists and staffers who produce broadcasts.'

A Cloud No Bigger Than a Man's Hand: CCTV America Dept - James Fallows, "Over the years in China, I watched my share (thousands of hours?) of China Central TV, CCTV, and have a very clear idea of its role as reliable presenter of the official governmental view. In the past few evenings I've started watching the launch of new programs from CCTV America. I don't know how representative the shows I've seen are, or how long this can go on -- but flipping back and forth between CCTV America and a well-known US network based in Atlanta, I've generally heard a lot more, and in a lot more detail and less tendentiously and cutesily, from, gasp, CCTV America. I'm not even comparing it with some other networks, including the one run by Roger Ailes. ... I will follow its [CCTV America] evolution, and I invite you to check it out for yourself. Meta-point: I have been very bearish on contemporary China's ability to exercise 'soft power,' since its efforts have so often been so Onion-like. This seems different, and for China-watchers and people in general is worth paying attention to." Via

Japan’s Cultural Diplomacy Future - Hirotaka Watanabe, "Japan’s standing as a stable, global and developed nation remains unchallenged. The problem is that Japan lacks self-awareness not only of its role as a global player, but also of its potential – not least in terms of cultural diplomacy. Yet utilizing this potential needs to be about more than creative content, which is after all just a form of commerce. And merely exporting creative content doesn’t necessarily equate to influence. Instead, Japan must look at the diplomatic options its culture offers, and there’s no arguably no better place to look to understand the potential than Europe, and specifically France. ... The way the Japanese Foreign Ministry works, PR activities are described as either policy-oriented or general public relations work. As the name suggests, policy-oriented public relations involves public relations specific diplomatic issues. This is the main part of public diplomacy. On the other hand, general public relations seeks to have the intended audience become familiar with Japanese history, culture, society or lifestyle. As this also includes aspects of educational and awareness-raising activities, the term 'educational public relations' is also used. As a result, educational and cultural activities are positioned as an area of public relations. At the French Embassy in Tokyo, in contrast, the public relations and cultural affairs sections are independent of one another. Culture ranks high among diplomatic activities and is clearly defined. Japan hasn’t yet arrived at this way of thinking. ... The concept of 'Cool Japan,' which flourished in the days of the Junichiro Koizumi administration, was Japan’s cultural diplomacy strategy, and it targeted pop culture.

The term was originally used by Douglas McGray when describing Japan’s cultural potential in his essay 'Japan’s Gross National Cool,' published in 2002. It described how in contrast with a Japanese economy that had continued to decline since the collapse of the bubble economy, Japanese pop culture had begun to exert significant influence around the world. Chief among these is the argument that these aren’t real examples of Japanese culture. Certainly, compared with traditional culture, some might say there’s less artistic value or depth. And international fans of Japanese pop culture aren’t necessarily interested in the culture, history or society of Japan. Finally, some complain about the commercialization of culture. However, historically, many artistic endeavors have flourished through conflict with authority. And while anime doesn’t necessarily directly lead to a deep understanding of Japanese culture or history, it’s probably fair to say that many children raised around the world on Disney might feel at least a little sympathetic to America. ... Japan is a cultural superpower whose world-leading conventions, values and culture are held in high esteem around the globe. And as we communicate positive images of Japan – images of peace and stability – I believe we can raise Japan’s standing further. The health and improved status of Japan’s culture industry will lead to the reinvigoration of Japanese diplomacy. As long as Japan is a global player, this is also an obligation that its government must meet." Via manIC; uncaptioned image from article

Discussing the Future of Public Diplomacy - Aparajitha Vadlamannati PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "At USC on April 6, the Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars held a conference on the Future of Public Diplomacy. Experts, academics, and practitioners gathered to discuss what lies ahead for the field of public diplomacy. ... We may not have prognosticated the prospects of public diplomacy, however, we certainly have an idea. The future of public diplomacy will be about the following:   Being in on the first wave of new technology and communication   Experimenting with multiple communication techniques to grab attention   Messaging more intelligently and tailoring it to niche audiences because the global public is smart and proficient in online communication   Breaking the “silos” to foster cross-group dialogue that can influence policy.”

Korean-Jewish exchange - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "I have discovered a new way for Koreans and Jews to bond: cream cheese and kimchi on toast. Delish. Probably even better on a bagel, but we work with what we got in the gastrodiplo kitchen."


U.S. and Afghanistan Reach Partnership Agreement - Alissa J. Rubin, New York Times: After months of negotiations, the United States and Afghanistan on Sunday finalized drafts of the strategic partnership agreement that pledges American support for Afghanistan for 10 years after the withdrawal of troops at the end of 2014. The document outlines the two countries future relationship rather than specifying exact amounts of support or programs, but officials from both countries have said they hope that it will send a signal to insurgents and other destabilizing forces here that the United States is not going to abandon Afghanistan as it did in the 1990s after the Soviets were driven out. Rather American will continue to support the country in many areas.

Why we need more accountability in Afghanistan - Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Post: For too long now, command accountability for our troops’ misconduct in wartime has been more theoretical than real. The latest scandal to erupt in Afghanistan — photographs of American soldiers amusing themselves with dismembered Taliban corpses — suggests that it’s past time to confront this problem. On the question of accountability, the military’s ethic is clear: With authority comes responsibility. More specifically, commanders bear responsibility for everything that happens within their jurisdiction. This decree supposedly applies to high-ranking generals as much as lowly lieutenants.

Toss out the all-volunteer military - Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post: It is time to get rid of the all-volunteer force.

It has been too successful. Our relatively small and highly adept military has made it all too easy for our nation to go to war — and to ignore the consequences. Image from article

The Pentagon’s Implausible Deniability - Leslie Griffith, This time it’s the Pentagon’s propagandists turning their massive messaging machine on the very reporters who dared to criticize it. We all know that the Pentagon is the largest contractor in the world. Many of their contracts go to propaganda campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. That much the Pentagon admits. So, USA Today reporter Tom Vanden Brook and editor Ray Locker investigated whether or not those propaganda campaigns were actually helping anyone and how much they cost American taxpayers. Then they wrote a story. But, apparently, the Pentagon didn’t appreciate what the report uncovered. According to Locker, they found “little proof that the programs work and they [Pentagon officials] won’t make public where that money goes.” What happened next is all too familiar to any reporter who has tried to investigate public or corporate malfeasance, or any suspected abuse of power. Almost immediately, Vanden Brook and Locker were victimized by a variety of scurrilous online attacks. The plot got thick—very quickly. In what would’ve once been thought to be an ironic twist, but today is just “business as usual,” the reporters became the targets of the very sort of propaganda they reported on in the first place. Suddenly, fake websites were opened in their names. (with inaccurate reports they never wrote.) Twitter accounts and message forums posted lies in transparent attempts to discredit them. Potentially career damaging Wikipedia entries were posted. This is how it works today, folks.

Journalists falsely accused of links with Taliban following Pentagon propaganda story - Fake websites and Facebook accounts of two USA Today journalists, Tom Vanden Brook and Ray Locker, have been set up accusing them of being backed by the Taliban. The two journalists were investigating a case in which private security companies were engaged in foreign propaganda wars on behalf of the Pentagon, The Guardian reports. The two became targets of an Internet campaign just days after they published the results of their investigation into a multi-million dollar Pentagon-funded propaganda mission in Iraq and Afghanistan in an attempt to discredit their work. During the journalists mission, fake websites, Twitter feeds and Facebook accounts were set up by the journalists' names in which they were accused of being backed by the Taliban. The source of the campaign has not been identified. The Pentagon told USA Today that it was unaware of any such activities and stressed that the act was unacceptable.

Dead Men Working - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "Dead Men Working, the blog of a group called 'Concerned Foreign Service Officers' does not always agree with what I write here; in fact, they tend to almost always disagree with me, so it is important to note when our two blogs come to the same conclusion.That conclusion is over the role Diplomatic Security is increasingly playing within the Department of State: internal bully boy to be used by HR to weed out troublesome employees."

President Obama: Don’t go there - Bruce Ackerman, Washington Post: CIA Director David H. Petraeus is asking the administration to expand the bombing campaign in Yemen. If President Obama approves this request, he will be breaking the legal barrier that Congress erected to prevent the White House from waging an endless war on terrorism.

Propaganda Masquerading As Journalism - Simon Wood, The 99.99998271%: It is essential that the relentless propaganda of establishment media against any who step outside 'acceptable' (as defined by the establishment itself) boundaries of comment or behavior becomes a thing of the past. And the only people who can bring this to pass are the people themselves, via a grassroots movement towards true democracy, that of the people, by the people and for the people.

KONY 2012 = War Propaganda - "So I have been waiting to comment on the Kony 2012 film until I was out yesterday and saw Kony 2012 paper flyers taped to various traffic signs.Undoubtedly by misguided, local high schoolers. To by honest I have not seen the actual film. For when I went to search for it on youtube I found all sorts of videos instead exposing it for what it is. War Propaganda.

No doubt Kony has done horrific things by enlisting children as militants and no doubt he should be stopped. However, everyone needs to realize why the film was created. Guess what Uganda has just discovered in their country....wait for it....OIL. The film plays to peoples emotions, and claims to be a cause to unite both parties (republicans and democrats) in order to stop an evil leader. Sound familiar? Actually it is to get the public to back the united states in its quest for oil. A smokescreen. Thank goodness for the internet. Watch this. Kony 2012 Addendum. Kony 2012 Addendum Exposed. Another brief video here. That should get you started on your own search, tell me what you think." Image from blog, presumably of its author.

People's Daily website IPO raises $219m - The website of the People's Daily, the propaganda arm of the Chinese communist party, has received an overwhelming vote of approval from the market in its initial public offering. In the first listing of the editorial arm of a government news organisation in China, the online unit of People's Daily raised Rmb1.38bn (USD 219 million) in Shanghai, nearly triple its fundraising target. Beijing hopes that it will lead the way to similar IPOs, with the internet portal of Xinhua news agency up next, raising cash to boost the appeal of state-run media. Bids covered more than 60 times the amount of shares on offer, as investors scrambled for a slice.

The strong performance reflected optimism that the People's Daily, founded in 1948, will be able to modernise and close the gap with private internet companies such as Sina and Tencent, which have built much more popular news websites than their stodgy government-run rivals. In global terms, the People's Daily appears strong - it will rank just behind the New York Times in terms of valuation.'s market capitalisation will be USD 876 million based on the float, while the New York Times is valued at about USD 943 million. But within China, the People's Daily faces more competition than ever. Long gone are the days when the Communist party's mouthpiece was essential reading. Instead, a bewildering array of websites, business publications and foreign titles vie for attention. The People's Daily website was 49th in visitor numbers in China last year, according to internet monitoring organisation ChinaRank. Image from article

Why did Li want his visit unnoticed in Canada? Who is Chinese Communist Propaganda Chief Li Changchun? - Li is usually counted among the core members of a faction within the Communist Party that is in the process of being purged. The faction is associated with former leader Jiang Zemin who orchestrated the systematic eradication of Falun Gong. Li came to his position in 2002, rising through the ranks of the party in the same way that Bo Xilai and Zhou Yongkang did—through closely following Jiang Zemin’s order to crush Falun Gong. Like Bo, and Zhou, Li distinguished himself by being particularly brutal in his efforts to eradicate the Falun Gong group from Guangdong province during his tenure there as the Party chief from 1999 to 2002.

North Korea: The cult of the Kims: Revealing the lengths the country's propaganda department will go to to ensure Kim Jong-un's image is untarnished - For the past few months, North Korea's propaganda department has been working overtime. Since the death of its so-called 'Great leader' Kim Jong-il last December, the country's 'Propaganda and Agitation' department has been fashioning a cult of personality around his unelected successor, the third and youngest son, Kim Jong-un. Any public humiliation over the failed satellite launch paled alongside the triumph that was the new Supreme Leader's debut speech. And this, together with myriad publicity stunts and a starring role in a two-hour documentary recently broadcast on state TV, marks a new chapter in the cult of the Kims.

Commander: UAE Claim on Iranian Islands Aimed at Propaganda - A senior Iranian military commander dismissed the claims raised by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the three Iranian islands of Abu Mussa, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb in the Persian Gulf, saying such allegations are only good for media hype. "These are mere rhetoric good for media ballyhoo," Commander of Iran's

Basij (volunteer) force Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said on Saturday. After Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Abu Musa earlier this month, the UAE recalled its ambassador from Tehran in protest at Ahmadinejad's official trip to the Iranian island. Then on April 13, the foreign ministers of the six-nation Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) held an emergency meeting in Doha and issued a statement against the Iranian President's visit to the Iranian island. In reply, Iran said that the visit is an issue related to Iran's state sovereignty. International documents clearly show that the three islands of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa which were historically owned by Iran, temporarily fell to British control in 1903. The islands were returned to Iran based on an agreement in 1971 before the UAE was born. Iran has repeatedly declared that its ownership of the three islands is unquestionable. Uncaptioned image from article

Pointing to Syria to Divert Attention From Israel’s Crimes - Jamil Sbitan, The Israeli government and its supporters have long utilized a wide range of propaganda tools to sugarcoat Israel’s atrocities against the Palestinians. In addition to pinkwashing (using Israel’s relative support of gay rights to sugarcoat the country’s apartheid nature) and greenwashing (perpetuating the perception that Israel has environmentally-friendly policies to do the same), Zionist advocates are now using a different method: Assadwashing. As the Syrian uprising moves into its second year and Bashar al-Assad’s regime continues its brutal crackdown, the pro-Israel camp has breathed a sigh of relief and put on an indignant grin. Zionists now feel justified in pointing to Israel’s northeastern neighbor and exploiting the Syrian people’s suffering and resistance in order to further their own political agenda, depicting Israel as a “vibrant democracy” in comparison to Syria. Perversely, to Zionist propagandists, Assad’s pernicious brutality comes not as a tragedy but as a savior. For Israel and many of its supporters, Assad’s repression, and other injustices in the Middle East and the world are sufficient justification for apartheid and ethnic cleansing. To them, injustice anywhere is not a threat to justice everywhere, but a way to steer attention away from Israel’s behavior.

"I'm From a Village", China Industrial Park, Byalyatski - Politics and Civil Society Digest - Patriotic rap song "I'm From a Village" ‘blew up’ internet.

Ksenia Dziahelka, a 13-year-old Belarusian schoolgirl and member of a pioneer organisation from the town of Oktyabrsky (Gomel oblast) sings, in a propaganda style, about the stability and prosperity of Belarus. Amateur video of this rap song has attracted significant attention and sharp reactions from Internet users. The video gathered more than 450,000 views on YouTube in less than a week and generated over 3,000 comments. The views grew significantly after a program praising the girl "talent" on state TV on April 19th. To compare: Belarusian history animation video of the Budzma campaign has about 360,000 YouTube views from the end of May 2011. Dziahelka image from article

The truth about Sudan - "We ... talk to the ambassador of Sudan as propaganda continues to demonize one of the largest countries in Africa."

Hitler and Hitlerism: A Man of Destiny: An early 10-point summary of the aspiring dictator's agenda - Nicolas Fairweather, Propaganda, according to Hitler, must be aimed at the masses. Its object is not to make people weigh and discriminate, but to champion one particular idea. To succeed, it must appeal to the emotions rather than to reason. How well the German Fascists have learned this lesson which Hitler taught them can be seen by examining any issue of the Völkischer Beobachter, the daily journal of the movement. Its pages bristle with epithets like "Marxists," "Jews," "tribute slaves," "black red criminals," repeated ad nauseam few words and strong ones. In Hitler's mind the word "propaganda" seems to bear no relation whatever to truth. The mass of mankind is an instrument to be played upon, nothing more. Propaganda is a means of making people believe what is for the moment effective in moving them to do what he wishes. No moral considerations are involved. His mind is in the herd stage, and he is as grossly material in his politics as Freud in his psychology. Utterly contemptuous of the intelligence of the people, he seems quite to ignore the unwholesome aftereffects of a diet of lies. He is deliberately building upon the weakness of the mass mind, and in this he proves himself a genuine demagogue -- honest, no doubt, in believing that what he does is for the general good, demagogue just the same. He expresses great admiration for British propaganda during the war, apparently failing to grasp the fact that British propaganda, whatever else may be said of it, was based upon British moral ideas. No doubt there were Englishmen who viewed the subject as Hitler does, but the great majority of them, high and low, will consider his methods as sufficient proof that the Germany against which they went to war has come back in a new guise, as unregenerate as ever. The gravamen of the charge against Imperial Germany was that it was dominated by the same philosophy which is now put forward by Hitler. Certainly both Americans and British thought they were fighting against the doctrine that truth is a shifty thing to be pragmatically determined by national interests. This is Hitler's opinion of it, and he sets it forth, not in private lectures to a war college, but in a book intended for the instruction of the people. It serves to explain only too well the flood of cheap, foolish, dogmatic statements which regularly appear in the press of his party. With German war propaganda Hitler was thoroughly dissatisfied. He says very frankly that if he had had charge of it things might have turned out differently. To its defects he attributes the decline in morale which brought on the revolution and national collapse. When he was in Berlin and Munich on sick leave during the winter of 1916 1917, he found the beginnings of general disaffection in the public mind, and everywhere, he noted, Jews were in control of business and the press. The withdrawal of Russia and the defeat of Italy revived a waning hope of victory, but then came the munition strike, which discouraged the army by showing that the will to victory lagged at home. Though it did not last long enough actually to affect supplies, it heartened the enemy convinced them that, if the German army could be stood off a little longer, revolution would overthrow the government in Berlin. The men who engineered this strike, notes Hitler, were the men who later took over the highest offices of state under the revolution. Here, then, is the root of his undying anmosity to these men as traitors - animosity added to that which he had previously felt for their political principles. Marxism had overcome German nationalism. Read "Part II: Germany Under the Nazis."

Typographic masterpieces, Soviet propaganda, edgy advertising at Swann Galleries' auction of Modernist posters - Swann Galleries will conduct their annual spring auction devoted to Modernist Posters on Thursday, May 10 at 1:30 PM. An excellent selection of Russian avant-garde and constructivist works includes two 1930 posters by Gustav Klutsis, [We Will Turn the Five-Year Plan into a Four-Year Plan], Moscow ($10,000 to $15,000) and [Building of Soviet Farms and Collective Farms is the Building of Socialism in Rural Areas] ($7,000 to $10,000), as well as a Klutsis oil and pencil on canvas design for a kiosk for broadcasting Lenin’s speeches to the masses, with a label from the City Museum, Department of Social and Communal Hygiene attached to the back, 1922 ($15,000 to $20,000). There are also Soviet images by Alexander Rodchenko and the Stenberg Brothers.

Sunday Morning Links: The Soviet Space Propaganda Edition – steve, "Found these really interesting old school Soviet propaganda posters touting their Space Program at Gavin Rothery" [among them the below: "Our triumph in space: a  hymn to the land of the Soviets!"]

Soviet Propaganda Stack Filtering 2 - John Dalton, More fun with Soviet propaganda poster art, used as a source for stack filtering in Studio Artist.

Stack filtering involves processing a folder of images using temporal image processing effects designed for processing video files. Correlations in adjacent folder images are detected as movement in the temporal video processing algorithms, and really interesting visual effects result from this misuse of video processing effects. Image from entry

Exploring Propaganda: Ancient Times - Propaganda has been part of the human consciousness throughout recorded history. Nagle and Burstein have indicated that most historians consider the

Behistun Inscription, which detail the rise of Darius I to the Persian throne, as an early example of propaganda.1 The inscription reads in part: Darius the King says: For this reason we are called Achaemenians. From long ago we have been noble. From long ago our family had been kings. Darius the King says: there were 8 of our family who were kings before me; I am the ninth; 9 in succession we have been kings. The writings of the Roman Titus Livius were also considered propaganda pieces. Livius’ only surviving work Ab urbe condita libri (“History of Rome”) – written c. 10CE – speaks about the mythical beginnings of Rome. According to the tradition of historical writing at the time Livius was obligated to relate the “history” he heard or read about without passing judgment as to its truthfulness.3 From Volume One – Book One we read: It has been handed down to us, as a certain fact, that the Greeks, when they had taken Troy, treated the Trojans with the utmost severity; with the exception, however, of two of them, Æneas and Antenor, towards whom they exercised none of the rights of conquest. This lenity they owed, partly, to an old connection of hospitality, and partly, to their having been, all along, inclined to peace, and to the restoration of Helen. These chiefs experienced afterwards great varieties of fortune. Antenor, being joined by a multitude of the Henetians, who had been driven out of Paphlagonia in a civil war, and having lost their king Pylæmenes at Troy, were at a loss both for a settlement and a leader, came to the innermost bay of the Adriatic sea, and expelling the Euganeans, who then inhabited the tract between the Alps and the sea, settled the Trojans and Henetians in the possession of the country. The place where they first landed is called Troy, and from thence the Trojan canton also has its name; the nation in general were called Henetians. Æneas, driven from home by the same calamity, but conducted by the fates to an establishment of more importance, came first to Macedonia; thence, in search of a settlement, he sailed to Sicily, and from Sicily proceeded with his fleet to the country of the Laurentians. In addition, the Romans were known for their theater, politics, courts, festivals, military, and religious affairs which allowed for the widespread propaganda of Roman beliefs and ideas. The first systematic attempt to utilize propaganda came out of ancient Greece. Orations – deliberate forms of speech – were carefully used to deliver persuasive messages. The Greeks – due mostly to their cultural-democratic culture – were able to mold attitudes and opinion using propaganda. The Greeks were known for their games, theater, orations, military, politics, courts, and festivals which offered them an opportunity to propagandize their varied beliefs and ideas. In the play The Passing of Peregrinus, Lucian uses the theater to spread dark propaganda about the religious sect called the “Christians.” It was then that he learned the wondrous lore of the Christians, by associating with their priests and scribes in Palestine.  And—how else could it be?—in a trice he made them all look like children, for he was prophet, cult-leader, head of the synagogue, and everything, all by himself. He interpreted and explained some of their books and even composed many, and they revered him as a god, made use of him as a lawgiver, and set him down as a protector, next after that other, to be sure, whom they still worship, the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world. (The Passing of Peregrinus 11) The study of ancient Egyptian texts shows that propaganda was a well-used technique in ancient Egyptian texts. The texts may be descriptive of certain events and battles and may be considered a type of biography. However, students of Egyptian antiquity have noted that the art of Egypt was often-times propagandistic in nature. Statues and two-dimensional artwork is not only decorative but also communicates messages and promotes propaganda. One such example is seated statues of Ramses II in front of the temple of Abu Simbel. While these statues are clearly a decorative piece they are also seen as a propaganda tool showing the might of Egypt. The art of propaganda has been around for most of recorded history. This technique is very useful and useful to a variety of people – both ancient and modern. Image from entry, with caption: Behistun Inscription

Plant Propaganda: Horticulture and Garden Design on California's Central Coast
- "I’m glad I decided to blog about last years trip to England. I haven’t really gone through all my thousands of photos much and I had forgotten about Lanhydrock. Not that it was particularly forgettable I just saw a lot of gardens in that 10 day trip. This was another Cornish garden but further inland so not as many tender plants. If you ask me if I am a fan of topiary I will generally say no but really well done topiary like the yews on the entrance lawn at Lanhydrock definitely make an impression. This is also one of the few houses where I went inside and didn’t just check out the gardens. Once again to see all the images please click the blue link under the thumbnails to be taken directly to my Flickr page where you can view them as a slideshow or view each individual picture to see my comments.  Enjoy! Image: cannot be downloaded from article

Cool ‘Girl on Fire’ propaganda poster - Sheila in Fan Art, "We’ve seen quite a few of t[he] propaganda posters online, but I have to say this one is my favorite. Titled Girl on Fire by Leah D, this one looks pretty cool, and we love the name!!"


"[O]nce art becomes a career, people play safe with it."

--Author Roz Kaverney, The Times Literary Supplement (Apil 13, 2012), p. 30

"[W]e deciphered them by the grace of God."

--Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the aerospace division of the  Revolutionary Guards, relating that Tehran's military experts had extracted data from the U.S. RQ-170 Sentine l drone captured in December in eastern Iran

"I trust that thanks to a great journey of Jews to Africa ... I will see the complete extirpation of the concept of Jews."

--Nazi Heinrich Himmler; cited in 
Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010), p. 145


Half of new graduates are jobless or underemployed - AP, USA Today

Retirement bottom line: Many will have to work until 70 -  Dinah Wisenberg Brin, CNBC


"The Soviet citizens who ruled eastern Poland were falling off bicycles, eating toothpaste, using toilets as sinks, wearing multiple watches, or bras as earmuffs, or lingerie as evening gown."

--Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin (New York: Basic Books, 2010), p. 139

1 comment:

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