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

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