Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Image from article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Via on RS on facebook


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

Via OR on facebook


Via DR on facebook

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