Thursday, April 5, 2012

April 5

"[R]each isn't always the same thing as influence."

--ManIC blogger Laura McGinnis; image from Ms. McGinnis's blog


(a) Iraq War Propaganda Re-Cycled for 'Iran Threat'

(b) 1950s General Motors Propaganda Film: Solution to Congestion Is More Roads


Tara D. Sonenshine Sworn in as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State: "Tara D. Sonenshine was sworn in as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs on April 5, 2012. She 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. President Obama nominated Ms. Sonenshine on November 8, 2011. The Senate confirmed her appointment on March 29, 2012. Most recently, Ms. Sonenshine served as Executive Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace. Prior to joining the United States Institute of Peace, she was a strategic communications adviser to many international organizations including USIP, the International Crisis Group, Internews, CARE, The American Academy of Diplomacy and the International Women’s Media Foundation. Ms. Sonenshine served in various capacities at the White House during the Clinton Administration, including Transition Director and Director of Foreign Policy Planning for the National Security Council and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications for the NSC. Ms. Sonenshine

has had a distinguished career in communications and government, with high level experience in broadcast, print and online media. She has produced news programs for network television and authored numerous articles for national print and online media. She is the recipient of 10 News Emmy Awards and other awards in journalism for broadcast programs on domestic and international issues. Her broadcast career began at ABC News in New York, working for another Tufts alumnus, David Burke, then Vice President of ABC NEWS. Ms. Sonenshine went on to become Editorial Producer of ABC News’ Nightline, where she worked for more than a decade. She was also an off-air reporter at the Pentagon for ABC’s World News Tonight. A former contributing editor for Newsweek, Sonenshine is the author of numerous articles on foreign affairs published in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other newspapers. Ms. Sonenshine graduated from Tufts University in 1981 Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Political Science. She has remained active at Tufts on boards and advisory committees including the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. She is the proud wife of Gary Friend and mother of two sons, Jordan Friend and Yale Friend." Image from

US envoy pledges support to fight terrorism, corruption - "The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Terrace McCauley, has said his country fully supported Nigeria’s efforts at curbing corruption and fighting terrorism. McCauley said this at a teleconference with journalists in Abuja, on Wednesday. ... He [said], 'At every opportunity, we talk about the need to address the problem of corruption. It is a dialogue we carry out at the highest level of this government and we recognise there is a problem. But I think we are deploying resources to assist the government of Nigeria to address this problem and it is part of our public diplomacy message.'”

US diplomacy runs aground in South Asia - M K Bhadrakumar, Russia and India report: "When Professor Paul Kennedy predicted the inexorable

decline of America as world power in his masterly work of the 1980s, The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, there were hardly any takers. But today even ‘Friends of America’ like Edward Luce, Washington columnist and commentator for The Financial Times, would acknowledge it to be an inexorable historical happening. But is America’s decline as the lord and master of public diplomacy also on the decline? As power declines, need is all the more to sustain glory image-building. Without doubt, US public diplomacy surged when visiting Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman announced in New Delhi on Monday that America has put a 10-million dollar bounty on the fearsome Pakistani Islamist leader Hafiz Saeed whom India regards as the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008. The Indian pundits rose to applaud Washington’s decision as signifying a genuine shift in Washington in favor of jettisoning its double standards on international terrorism. Calibrated media leaks by Washington establishment figures fuelled the Indian euphoria. Unsurprisingly, some Indian pundits even forecast that the US intended to eliminate Saeed in a drone attack." Image from

Public Diplomacy With Brazil Puts Boeing Deal at Risk - Eric Ehrmann, Hufffington Post: "Brazil's reluctance to help Washington topple Syria and their support for Iran's nuclear program have drawn the ire of a White House eager to turn foreign policy into political currency during a presidential election year. Flexing its muscles, the Pentagon abruptly cancelled a deal with defense giant Embraer and the White House refused to give next week's visit by president Dilma Rousseff state visit status relegating the event to the lower category of bi-lateral talks. ... To curry favor with Brazil's military and private sector aerospace industry, Boeing Brazil president Donna Hrinak on Tuesday announced her company's intention to open a small aerospace research center in the Sao Paulo area later this year. A former U.S. ambassador to Brazil and longtime shadow government player, Hrinak is no stranger to the lobbying game, timing her announcement on the eve of president Dilma's visit to Washington. With Brazil's pride hurt by Washington's heavy handed public diplomacy there are new signs that Dilma could resist renewed White House pressure to buy Boeing during her other than state visit and opt for the Rafale or possibly save face and put the whole matter on hold."

Lowy gives USPD an A for E - Laura McGinnis, ManIC: “So, as I'm sure you're already aware, Australia's Lowy Institute thinks the United States is a global e-diplomacy trendsetter. ‘In some areas ediplomacy is changing the way State does business. In Public Diplomacy, State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the ten largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms.’ To recap: (USG * the Interwebs) > (non-USG * the Interwebs) -- where non-USG is any government of your choice, with the exception of the U.S. government, and where 'greater than' is recognized as a mathematical symbol and not a value judgment. So the U.S. is getting online to shape hearts and minds. So far, so good. Except that as we all know, numbers aren't everything in the public diplomacy game, and reach isn't always the same thing as influence. And let's not forget that if we quantify the reach of that extensive media empire mentioned above and take it a step further than author Fergus Hanson did, we'll find that audience to be a little less than a fifth of what Xinhua [e]stimates its own circulation to be. Still, it's a good indicator, and one I think most governments would rather be on the positive side of."

For The Love Of Books - "Back in 1963, London Steverson, a young black man, a senior at an all black Woodstock High School, in Memphis, Tennessee, wanted to write a senior term paper on the topic of martial arts. The school had only a small library with a limited selection of books. There were no books on karate, taekwondo, judo, aikido, or kung fu in the school library. In fact there were no books at all on martial arts. So, when Mr. Steverson inquired concerning any other library that he could possibly use for his research, the school librarian, Mrs. R. J. Roddy, informed him that there was a public library in Memphis, TN. It was a much bigger one, and it had a large selection of books on many topics, but it was for whites only. Before Mr. Steverson lost all hope for his term paper, Mrs. R. J. Roddy told him, she could call the librarian in that other 'whites only' library and see what books they had on the subject. It turned out that there were quite a few books on martial arts. The library sent over a two page list of titles. Mr. Steverson looked through the list and picked out some books that he thought he could use as references. Mrs. R. J. Roddy called back and told the librarian which books Mr. Steverson wanted, and they sent the books to his school by special delivery. ... [Later in his life, after attending the U.S. Coast Guard Academy]

he [Steverson] moved to Hungary [with his wife]. [Steverson:] 'When the packers came to our home with boxes, we were surprised that the bulk of out possessions were books. We had over 400 boxes of books.' There were high school, college, and law school text books, along with novels and books of every description. They were the accumulation of over 45 years of collecting books. When he arrived to Hungary, his wife began to take him to visit the elementary and high schools she had attended. He found that every school was teaching English diligently to their students, and they discussed the idea of donating some of the books to her alma maters’ libraries. Then, one day he visited the County Library in Veszprem. ( To his surprise there was an American Corner in the library. American Corners are a State Department supported program that provides, without American personnel, a public diplomacy outpost – library, discussion forum, program venue and Internet access – available for the use of the local population in a host country. The American Corner had two shelves of English language books and plenty of space. The American Corner was also near the local university. Mr. Steverson decided that this was the best place to donate his books because they would get the most exposure to English speaking and reading people. After showing the Director some samples of the types of books that he had, she was delighted to accept all the books he could donate. The donation was called the Steverson Book Collection

and since the initial donation, the collection has expanded from one corner to three corners in Hungary, helping students and teachers, Hungarians, foreigners and ex-patriots to have access to a wide variety of books and knowledge." Images from article, top one with caption: U.S. Coast Guard Academy Swearing-In June 1964.

Broadcasting Board of Governors ignores Congress - Edite Lynch, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "'Purging' as it is being applied to what is happening to the Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts is a correct term because the term itself is very closely allied with what totalitarian governments, like communists, autocrats, or imperial Presidents do when they feel threatened by any group of people who do not adhere or march to the tune of their trumpets. This word resonates sharply with what has been an ongoing activity by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in its efforts to decimate U.S. broadcasting to many countries of the world, among them Tibet and China. Anyone who has a modicum of interest or understanding of what it means to live under an oppressive regime would be appalled by the direction in which the BBG is taking the Voice of America. The explanations given thus far that the Internet is a more useful tool

for addressing America’s public diplomacy are lacking in truth and common sense. Everyone knows that totalitarian regimes and their leaders are aggressive players in boycotting and in censorship of any Western influence or talk of freedom, human rights, living and breathing with dignity. In spite of Congressional budget allotments for specific broadcasting, the BBG has acted in direct opposition to what Congress has dictated that must be done. It would seem that the Executives leading the BBG do not agree with what Congress stipulates and are actively pursuing their own inexplicable agenda, which is even more worrisome. It appears that advancing the humanitarian goals of American public diplomacy abroad is not required by those in charge of the BBG. They are quite content to throw billions of people under the bus, deny them access to news from America and prevent them from learning that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also applies to those souls who live under repressive and communist regimes. With the advent of a new President in 2008, the activity and misdirection by the BBG has multiplied and moved quickly in spite of what Congress has said and done. They are behaving like autocrats themselves and influencing the editorial of direction of the Voice of America. They are exercising judgement that lacks humanity or compassion for the unfortunate people around the world who yearn to listen to VOA. President Obama has shown his disdain for the relevancy of the three branches of government. The BBG executives are acting in the same manner and obviously are taking lessons from their patron. How disheartening for all those selfless persons who for seventy years made a huge difference in the lives of billions around the world. A bunch of highly paid wonks want to destroy the bedrock of American public diplomacy around the world to people who really need to hear its message of freedom and hope." Lynch mage from entry

The international community failed to act - Asghar, "While condemning the act of the Sri Lankan armed forces for deliberate target on civilians, the LTTE [on LTTE, see - JB] for keeping the civilians as a human shield during the last stages of the war, it is absolutely essential to point the finger at the international community failing to act to save the people caught in the cross fire between the armed forces and the rebels. The international communities so called public diplomacy did nothing to bring down the casualty of the final stages of the conflict. The rescue mission of the Rajapakse administration has cost thousands lives of innocent

civilians caught between the crossfire starving, raping and bleeding to death without water. ... During the last three months of the war the international community was engage[d] in public diplomacy which did nothing to save the lives of innocent civilians including women and children. Diplomacy can be spoken with people who respect international laws. Where as in this case the international community should failed to understand that it is dealing with a ruthless terrorist outfit and a deceptive government. ... It is distressing for a mother to see in the video footage the nude corpses of her injured child who or (captured LTTE cadres) or moaning to death, are carried and dumped into trucks. An obnoxious feeling to see human flesh is blown to flinders and hanging in the trees with blood. Finally the international community and its public diplomacy did not provide the Tamil community to locate the sepulcher of their kith and kin is buried." Image from article

‘I Used Myanmar As An Example, Just As Others Have Used Israel And Cuba As Examples’– Amb. - Dayan Jayatilleka, "Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Paris Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka has come under scrutiny in recent days for his controversial remarks in the aftermath of the passing of the United States sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council Sessions, last month. Certain remarks that were misconstrued as having compared Sri Lanka to Myanmar, a call for reform of Sri Lanka ’s foreign policy strategy and his unorthodox independent style of functioning have put him in the spotlight and opened his actions up for criticism. ... Q: Has your independent style of functioning led to a number of enemies? And do you think, this will lead to your downfall? A: My style of functioning was commented on several times in the Wikileaks cables revelations, when the US Mission referred to me and our ‘very effective diplomacy’ and specifically our ‘very effective public diplomacy’ at that time in Geneva 2008-9. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Those who cannot function that effectively, perhaps feel a deep sense of intellectual inferiority and resentment. I am independent minded and outspoken, but I have never been summoned to the French Foreign Ministry and pulled up, though I have been perhaps the only Sri Lankan ambassador invited, certainly in recent times, to address the prestigious French Institute of International Affairs (IFRI), one of Europe’s and the world’s top think tanks."

A Quiet Transformation in China’s Approach to Israel - "Perhaps due in part to the Arab Spring, the ambassadors of the 22 Arab nations have been putting increasing pressure on China to take action in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As is often the case in China, policy advice on such matters is sourced to the nation’s leading academic community. The Middle East Research Center at Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) developed a new model for diplomatic involvement in the Middle East and North Africa. In response to the Arab community’s complaint that China sits on its proverbial hands, showing indifference to the region, the Center coined the new program, 'Constructive Participation.' 'Constructive Participation,' which aims to be the new paradigm for Chinese public diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa, infers China’s gradual shift away from its traditional 'non-interference' policy towards a strategy in which government, businesses, and NGOs seek to contribute to the development of the region. ... China’s economic achievements have created a new reality for the world’s most populous nation.

Demands and expectations internally and externally will continue to grow and to some extent, China will be seeking out Israel, its scholars, and experts as a trusted source of information and greater understanding in order to meet the responsibilities brought by its economic success." Image from

Toward an Israeli counter-elite - David Isaac, Doc's Talk: "In our last blog we discussed Israel’s abject failure in the realm of public diplomacy – dismal to the point of Israeli leaders stumping for President Barack Obama in a recent campaign video. The information war was of paramount concern to Shmuel [Shmuel Dayan? JB], who always considered himself 'an information man,' and who had hoped to run Israel’s first Ministry of Information, a post promised to him, (but not given) by Menachem Begin. It’s difficult to fathom Israel’s failure in this area. As Dr. Martin Sherman points out in 'Comprehending the Incomprehensible,' (The Jerusalem Post, Jan. 13, 2012) Israel typically finds the resources it needs to ward off threats, whether investing in anti-missile defense or bunker buster bombs. But Israel can’t seem to do what’s needed to counter Arab propaganda. That, as the title of his piece says, is incomprehensible. Dr. Sherman makes a strong case that at the heart of the problem is Israel’s elite, who have 'the ability and the motivation to impose on the elected politicians – no matter what their electoral platform – an agenda that reflects their own unequivocally ‘PC’ (Palestinian-compliant) perspective on the conflict.' Before Israel can deal with its informational shortcomings, he argues, it first needs to deal with this elite. 'The remedy does not entail changing the elected political leadership, as two decades of disappointment from ostensibly hawkish candidates has depressingly demonstrated. Instead it involves fundamentally transforming the elite structure of Israel’s civil society and the discourse it generates, he writes. The creation of a counter-elite is no small feat, especially in Israel.'"

Edelstein, reporter in dustup over slur: Amiram Cohen of 'The Marker,' apologizes for Russian comments, but slams minister's statements against the High Court - Lahav Harkov, Jerusalem Post: "Journalist Amiram Cohen apologized to Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein on Tuesday, after an email he wrote saying Edelstein should 'go back to Russia where he belongs' became public.

Edelstein spent three-and-a-half years in a Soviet labor camp as a ‘Prisoner of Zion’ before being allowed to immigrate to Israel in 1987." Edelstein image from article

The Incredible Shrinking Canada… Just Keeps Getting Smaller - Daryl Copeland, "Over the past few days there has been some commentary in the mainstream and electronic media about the hard reality of this country`s ever diminishing place in the world. Still, such observations have not produced the  groundswell resistance that they warrant among Canadians.

For reasons which I have tried to assess earlier, this is not entirely surprising. ... The wreckage of Canadian public diplomacy in recent years has been well enough documented . ... Diplomacy, development, public broadcasting get whacked, while the generals snicker, corporate tax rates are lowered further, and inequality festers. This is a wealthy country with strong public finances. The incredible, ever-shrinking Canada. It does not have to be this way." Image from entry

Book Description - (via): "Publication Date: March 10, 2009[:]Democracy promotion in some form has been central to U.S. foreign policy since the country[']s inception, yet recent setbacks require reevaluating: What role, if any, should democracy have in U.S. security strategy and public diplomacy today? Extensive interviews with former national security advisers, senior diplomats and policymakers, strategic thinkers, and democracy experts, along with in-depth explorations of alternative strategies

by Larry Diamond, Francis Fukuyama, and Michael McFaul, all enhanced by an elite, bipartisan advisory committee, have found the following: § The consolidation and spread of democracy remain a strategic U.S. interest. § More than Iraq, U.S. policy toward Egypt has shaped the U.S. strategic community's views. § Charges of hypocrisy are inevitable but can be minimized. § U.S. public diplomacy should retain and clarify the nuances of 'democracy' while replacing 'promotion,' which has become synonymous with imposition, with 'support.' These issues and the pillars of a 'democracy support' strategy are examined in depth in this new report." Image from

Recent Blogs of Note - Blog Manager, PD News – CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Here at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, we encourage individuals to write about the effects of public diplomacy around the world. Public diplomacy, traditionally the purview of governments, has grown and branched out and is now being conducted by a variety of actors. In an effort to share with our readers a larger set of public diplomacy-related material, the CPD Blog is producing a periodic column, “Recent Blogs of Note.” This column will feature blogs from a number of institutions and individuals. If you are interested in having your blog featured in Recent Blogs of Note, please email for more information. World Learning Partners with AMIDEAST to Strengthen Mideast English Teaching. An interesting new blog post from the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy discusses World Learning’s recent partnership with America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, INC. (AMIDEAST). ... ‘Lets’ Win Juarez’ Event A Success for Partners of the Americas Another interesting blog post from the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy reveals that the Partners of the Americas recent program, 'A Ganar Juarez' (Let's win Juarez), a program implemented in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico had the goal of helping young adults, find jobs and develop entrepreneurial skills."

Ozzie Guillen Delivers Parting Shots to White Sox' Kenny Williams - Bison Messink, "The always volatile relationship between Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams appears to have soured for good. At least for now, anyway. Williams this winter tried to paint a diplomatic public picture of the terms that he and Guillen went out on, but Guillen is not one for public diplomacy. The two finally split up late last summer after the pair had worked together for eight years with the Chicago White Sox. Guillen, in the end, was traded to the Miami Marlins, who he now manages. Williams this winter sent Guillen a bygone-be-bygones text message, but Guillen is having none of it.

'It meant shit,' Guillen said yesterday of Williams' text. 'You know why? It looked like he set me up. It was like [Williams was saying], ‘Look, I texted him.’ OK, I texted him back because I’m a gentleman. My family was very upset, [saying], ‘Why did you respond to him?’ But I’m a man. I respect people, and the only thing I said was, ‘Thank you for the opportunity.’ ' Guillen is so steamed about the broken relationship that not even a personal phone call would sway him at this point. 'No, not really,' Guillen said, when asked if he'd appreciate a phone call, 'because if it was done the White Sox’ way, I thought I would have gotten a phone call saying, ‘Fuck you,’ ‘I’m glad your [sic - JB] gone,’ ‘Thank you,’ whatever the reason was, [sooner]. But a few months [after the 2011 season], we saw each other at the winter meetings, and nobody said anything. I don’t know why they didn’t say something then.’ ’ Ozzie also ruled out any chance of a return to the White Sox, at least as long as Williams is there. 'As long as Kenny Williams is the GM, I will never go back to the White Sox,' Guillen said. 'Never, never.’" Image from article, with caption: Kenny Williams and Ozzie Guillen: The best of times, the worst of times

Pretoria – Communications Officer – Australia Awards in Africa - "BACKGROUND [:] Australia Awards in Africa (AAA) in an AusAID-funded initiative designed: (i) to equip Africans with the skills and knowledge necessary to influence the economic and social development outcomes of their own countries; and (ii) to build the long-term capacity of African governments to provide a range of essential services, strengthen law and justice systems, improve transparency and achieve reforms to meet their own development challenges, particularly to progress towards their Millennium Development Goals. The Program is managed by GRM International which is seeking for Communications Officer. PURPOSE [:] Under the functional direction of the Short-Term Adviser (STA)(Communications), the Communications Officer will participate in the planning, development and implementation of AAA internal and external communications in order to meet Public Diplomacy and Scholarship Promotion objectives. Specifically, the appointee will produce and disseminate materials for communicating information about AAA; manage the content of the AAA website and the production of internal and external newsletters; maintain an updated database of contacts; and liaise with external suppliers of communications services."


Public Diplomacy and Nation Branding in post-communist states: Poland; Place Branding. Image from


USCG Karachi: Controversial Actor/Director Sean Penn Visits Pakistan’s Sindh Province – Domani Spero, DiploPundit: USCG Karachi’s Consul General William Martin and two-time Academy Award winning actor, screen writer and director Sean Penn

visited Badin‘s flood affected areas in Pakistan’s Sindh province and distributed USAID provided assistance to people at two camps. Sean Penn won for his roles in Mystic River (2003) and Milk (2008).  But no controversy here, Sean Penn reportedly refused to talk to the media, saying that the purpose of his visit was solely to interact with the flood survivors. Image from entry

Al Qaeda apparent victim of cyberattack -  Carlo Munoz, The Hill: Several extremist websites tied to al Qaeda remain offline almost two weeks after the sites were the apparent victims of a major cyberattack.  those sites, which play a key role in the terror group's propaganda efforts, were knocked offline 12 days ago by an unknown hacker or group of hackers, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The relatively low level of technological sophistication used during the attacks all but rules out the United States as the culprit, according to the Monitor. However, the attack comes as DOD is in the midst of drafting new rules of engagement for cyberwarfare. Pentagon officials have told lawmakers in recent weeks that U.S. cyberwarfare capabilities are still mainly focused on defensive, not offensive, operations.

U.S. policy on Burma should be measured - Editorial Board, Washington Post: Liberalization in Burma has been significant but limited, incremental and reversible. The easing of sanctions should be the same: substantive but limited, incremental and reversible.

do you believe all this warmongering is orchestrated by israel? i don’t (2) - Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynet: A Congress-commissioned CIA report about Iran’s nuclear progress states that the Islamic Republic has expanded its nuclear work in 2011. According to the report, which focused on arms proliferation, Tehran has continued its uranium enrichment endeavors and growing infrastructure development. The findings, released by DNI Clapper’s office, said that Iran has produced 4,900 kg of low enriched uranium. The report said: "Iran continued to expand its nuclear infrastructure and continued uranium enrichment and activities related to its heavy water research reactor. As of November, Iran’s nuclear material stockpile included 4,150 kg of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride and about 80 kg of 20% enriched uranium hexafluoride gas. Iran is moving closer to self-sufficiency in missile production, although it still relies on foreign suppliers, such as China, Russia, and North Korea for the necessary materials. Iran’s underground Fordow enrichment facility near Qom, a major nuclear facility, has begun production of near-20% enriched uranium. We judge Tehran will continue to work on producing more capable medium-range ballistic missiles and developing space launch vehicles. Iran’s missile arsenal is one of the largest in the Middle East and as such poses a growth threat. In addition, we believe that Iran is developing chemical weapons agents and has conducted research indicating offensive applications." The data was published ahead of the EU’s efforts to cement new nuclear talks with Iran. The negotiations are expected to be launched on Apr 13. Iran now has only 8,000 centrifuges, compared to 8,900 in 2010, but their operation has increased sharply.

'Azerbaijan actively joined information warfare':In recent year, the information warfare has become very important for our country - "Expert in media and PR technologies Ali Hajizade told the statement to Gun.Az while commenting on the informational propaganda of Azerbaijan.

'Azerbaijan has actively joined the information warfare, which involves state structures, different NGOs, media and individual citizens. Tangible achievements have been made in this direction. But besides these achievements, there a also a lot of shortcomings. These shortcomings occur due to the incompetency of some of those involved in information warfare.'" Image from article

Azerbaijani do not have the disposition that Aliev propagates - “The political elite of Azerbaijan is a hostage in the hands of clan that belongs to one person. The state propaganda is tended to protect the interests of the clan of that one person,” said PAP MP Naira Zohrabyan

who was involved in the Armenian delegation of the Euronest plenary session in Baku. She mentioned that Aliev’s speech, as well as the contacts with ordinary Azerbaijani proved that the Azerbaijani have adopted the policy of disseminating disinformation which is a policy of one person. “People there do not have the disposition which Ilham Aliev presents and propagates,” N. Zohrabyan said. Zohrabyan image from

Propaganda and anti-semitism - Burger Kingdom: "Last night I went to see a film in Jeddah. This, in itself, is unusual as there are no cinemas in Saudi Arabia (although there is talk that they are in the pipeline). It was on the roof of the [']Jeddah Cultural Exchange Centre' ( and was also organised by the lovely Susie of Arabia ( The film was the Aramco Brat’s Story (, which had been billed as a look at expats at Aramco, and their attitudes towards Saudi Arabia, and whether perceptions of the kingdom are true. This, it was, for about 20 minutes of the film…the rest could’ve been anywhere and was basically a look at American life in a compound. This was actually kind of interesting to me as I have never set foot in a compound. As expected, life didn’t appear to be too different from life anywhere in the west. Perhaps because of this the Americans interviewed didn’t have a bad word to say about Saudi Arabia. Admittedly I agree with the idea that western perceptions of the kingdom are wrong, but anyone who believes things are as wonderful as the director makes out is clearly deluded. The most hilarious part of the film came when an all-american blonde stated: 'I think being brainwashed is just…um….really….stupid'. The director claimed he wanted to present an unbiased opinion of what KSA is like (unlike the news networks), yet ended up with a sickly sweet homage to America and Saudi Arabia (including pictures of Bush and King Abdulaziz together, set to cutesy piano music). The film, as well as being a very interesting propaganda exercise by whoever payed for it, also gave me a chance to meet Susie…who is basically a Jeddah-celebrity. She informed me that, while I was away in Lebanon last week, the King had passed a decree allowing single men into malls (providing they behave themselves). This is actually quite a radical step and although it’s difficult anticipate good behaviour, the best way to learn is through trying. Much like the idea of women driving, the only way for men to get used to it is for it to happen (see my previous post). Susie and I agreed that the King is doing good things, step by step, and challenging the religious establishment. We just have to hope he stays in good health long enough to see things through. In other propaganda news, I’m currently reading The Arab Lobby by Mitchell Bard, a response to the Israel Lobby. I feel I should point out somewhere that I in no way agree with the contents of this book, and if any muttawa find it on me

I am not a supporter of Israel! I think this ranks as the most ridiculous book I’ve ever read…consisting of ways in which Arabists have influenced the US government to side against Israel. The argument against this should start and end with a simple look at Israel and the support and power it has been given by the US. The book does, however, have a point to make about the US-Saudi relationship…but it is not a new point. The other ridiculous element of the book is the belief that everyone in the Arab world and every lobby group for Arabs is Anti-Semitic. NO! They are anti-Israel! That said, there are many Arabs who are genuinely anti-semitic. Bard argues against the ridiculous notion of the Arab lobbyists that the creation of Israel would result in the hatred of the Arab world (I’m yet to get to the point where he realises that this has happened, that the Arabists were right, yet ignored, and his whole argument falls on it’s face). When I first came to Egypt several years ago, I was slightly shocked to see how many copies of Mein Kampf were on sale. I, myself, own one but this doesn’t make me a Nazi. Yet you never see it displayed in London bookshops, or hear people talking of their respect for the Nazis. One of my students once said 'I love Hitler. What can you tell me about him?' I told him that he had killed 6 million Jews in horrific circumstances. When I realised that this was the reason why my student loved him, I explained that a) Israel probably wouldn’t exist if Hitler wasn’t around and b) if my student had lived in Germany in the 40s he, and his family, would’ve been on the train with the Jews of his town. He went on to say that he still loved Hitler but he “didn’t know why”. Bard suggests brainwashing takes place in the Saudi school system. I have no idea whether this is true, and not many of my students express any admiration for the Nazis.'By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise' – Adolf Hitler (PS – I am NOT a Nazi)." Image: Blog logo

How the CIA used modern art as a weapon - “This is beyond fascinating to me. During the Cold War the CIA secretly funded ‘long leash’ operations backing the thriving Abstract Expressionist movement in the US, in order to discredit propaganda coming from the Soviet Union which called America a cultural dead zone without creative potential. The people backing and conceiving these operations were former OSS, Harvard and Yale graduates, many of whom themselves were patrons of the arts. They were part of the cultural elite, hence the secrecy of these operations – abstract art was detested by most Americans. Unbeknownst to the average citizen in the US, their tax dollars were funding blockbuster exhibitions of American avant-garde art in the Europe. The connection is improbable. This was a period, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art – President Truman summed up the popular view when he said: ‘If that's art, then I'm a Hottentot.’ As for the artists themselves, many were ex- communists barely acceptable in the America of the McCarthyite era, and certainly not the sort of people normally likely to receive US government backing. Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete. Embedded Link Modern art was CIA 'weapon'. See also John Brown, "Arts Diplomacy: The Neglected Aspect of Cultural Diplomacy," in William P. Kiehl, ed., America’s Dialogue with the World (Public Diplomacy Council, 2006)

Women and Gender | One author does not define all feminist views on Katy Perry's new video - Krystie Yadoli, Katy Perry recently released the music video for her song “Part of Me,” and feminist author Naomi Wolf isn’t too thrilled with it, but her boycott offers no solutions for navigating feminist issues in pop music. Wolf took issue with “Part of Me” because she thinks it is propaganda for the U.S. Marines Corps. Wolf is the author of “The Beauty Myth” and writes about women’s issues in the mainstream media. "It is a total piece of propaganda for the Marines. ... I really want to find out if she was paid by them for making it. … It is truly shameful,” she wrote on her Facebook page March 25. "I would suggest a boycott of this singer whom I really liked — if you are as offended at this glorification of violence as I am." The video features the music artist dumping a boyfriend and then joining the Marines. She goes through endless, tough training and sings, “You’re never gonna break my soul.” Perry distinctly

chose to use the military as a symbol of strength in the video, she told MTV. "It's an affirmation of strength, so I wanted to go the strongest route I ever could," she explained. "Literally, I was like, 'I'm gonna join the service. I'm gonna join the Marines.' We used only Marines. ... For three days, I was a wannabe Marine, which was so difficult." Aside from making headlines and garnering coverage in a number of news sources, Wolf’s boycott does not provide any constructive measures or worthwhile strategy about how to effectively navigate feminist issues in mainstream culture, namely pop music. The other major issue with Wolf’s boycott is that it perpetuates the notion and stereotype of hierarchies in social movements and having one singular representative that makes authority decisions for everyone else. There is not one universal opinion that stands for every single feminist. Naomi Wolf’s personal theory about Perry does not necessarily relate to all other women who identify with feminism. Instead of participating in a boycott that pits people and ideas against one another and separates individuals with varying opinions, a more beneficial option would be to encourage an open dialogue about the complex differences of opinions feminists have in response to Perry’s newest music video. Image from, with caption: Katy Perry's Full 'Part Of Me' Video

Propaganda Project - Theresa Le - TeeLe Art and Designs. Image from entry:


Painkiller sales soar across U.S., spread to new areas - Chris Hawley, Associated Press, USA Today: Sales of the nation's two most popular prescription painkillers have exploded in new parts of the country, an Associated Press analysis shows, worrying experts who say the push to relieve patients' suffering is spawning an addiction epidemic. Meanwhile, the distribution of hydrocodone, the key ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab, is rising in Appalachia, the original epicenter of the painkiller epidemic, and in the Midwest.


"You switch on the TV at 8 o'clock in the morning, and there's a nearly naked girl making pasta. And I thought, why are you making pasta naked?"

--Lorella Zanardo, an outspoken critic of the way women are portrayed on television in Italy; cited in Henry Chu, "Ready for post-bimbo era in Italy,"‎ Los Angeles Times [subscription]. Image from, with caption: Vi invito a vedere il "saggio visivo" di Lorella Zanardo


"[N]o hermeneutic is equivalent to its subject."

--George Steiner, in his book Errata (1997); cited in The Times Literary Supplement (March 30, 2012), p. 5

"[T]errorists can only do so much. They cannot take away our freedoms. They cannot reduce our liberties. They cannot, by themselves, cause that much terror. It’s our reaction to terrorism that determines whether or not their actions are ultimately successful."

--Security technologist Bruce Schneier

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