Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31

"The human mouth is basically filthy."

--Dr. Seth Thaller, the chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine; image from


a) 112TH Congress 2D Session H.R. 5736. To amend the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948 to authorize the domestic dissemination of information and material about the United States intended primarily for foreign audiences, and not for other purposes.

B) USC 22 - US CODE 22 - US Code - Title 22: Foreign Relations and Intercourse: Chapter 18 - United States Information and Educational Exchange Programs - Specifically: 22 USC 1461 - Sec. 1461. General authorization 22 USC 1461; 22 USC 1461 - Sec. 1461-1a. Ban on domestic activities by United States Information Agency


The History of Propaganda Exposed -


Afghanistan: Mind the God gap - Knox Thames, Foreign Policy: "The U.S. government can ramp up its efforts to increase public diplomacy relating to religious freedom and religious tolerance, and bring more delegations of Afghan religious and NGO leaders to the United States and take American religious and NGO leaders to Afghanistan. The United States can jump-start training about the balance between religion and state and the compatibility of Islam with human rights and religious freedom. Continuing to press for greater freedoms in public and private is critical, as well as starting new initiatives, such as creating a special working group on religious freedom/tolerance in U.S.-Afghan strategic dialogues.

U.S. and International Security Assistance Forces should be trained to understand international standards when engaging with Afghan religious leaders, local government officials, or Afghan local police forces. U.S. government personnel also need to increase their 'religious IQ' on the role of Islam in Afghan society, as well as understand how religious freedom can promote stability and security. As Afghanistan goes about building institutions as the international community departs, getting the religion question right will be a part of every answer." Image from

What would America gain by investing in child education vs embassies in Iraq? - "~-~-Answers!-~-~ One of the issues here that will perhaps be overlooked by other responses to this question is the factor return on investment. Recent studies have shown that quality of education is not necessarily dependent upon the level of financial endowment, but is much more dependent upon a series of other related factors. Hence, showering the “failing” education system in America with money isn’t going to solve the fundamental causes of the problems associated with it. On the other hand, the return on investment for embassies in Iraq will show a much greater degree of success than all the money and human capital that we are investing with our hard power/military influence on that country. As such, it is much cheaper to invest in embassies and public diplomacy programs in order to 'win the hearts and minds of the people' than to have costly and lengthy deployments of divisions of troops there for the sake of maintaining order."

American Quartet Hits All the Right Notes at Historic St. Louis Jazz Festival in Senegal - Kristin M. Kane, DipNote: "There is something special about seeing American jazz played in Africa: The audience responds in a unique way -- as do the musicians performing the music. Such was the case at the recent St. Louis Jazz Festival: St. Louis, Senegal, that is. The former capital of French Africa and a UNESCO world heritage site, the city is known for its crumbling but still-captivating architecture on the mile-long island on the border of Mauritania.

The festival, the most important of its kind in Africa, celebrated its 20th year last week. The brand-new Minister of Culture, Youssou Ndour, otherwise known as one of Africa's leading artists, declared for the first time that the festival's tickets would be free. During the opening ceremony, Ndour handed the U.S. Embassy an award to show the appreciation for our contributions to jazz over the years. In years past, jazz greats, such as Herbie Hancock, performed under the U.S. banner. Our Public Affairs Section has tried to support the festival in various collaborations over past years; this year, we brought over a wonderful quartet from Portland: The Devin Phillips Quartet." Image from entry

Congressmen Propose Domestic Distribution of Pro-U.S. Propaganda - Joe Wolverton, II, "In Greek mythology, the Hydra was a serpent-like beast that possessed many heads. Perhaps the most frightening quality of this fearsome amphibian was the fact that for each head that was cut off two grew in its place and the breath from these new heads were more poisonous than the one they replaced. Such is the case with the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013. Just as constitutionalists are busy hacking at the deadly indefinite detention provisions that were codified in the 2012 version, the iteration being proposed for the next fiscal year contains elements that are perhaps more constitutionally lethal. As we have reported, there were about 140 amendments to the bill that were considered along with the larger legislation. One of these allows the federal government to print pro-American propaganda for domestic distribution. Ostensibly, the purpose of the pamphlets is to combat al-Qaeda’s attempts to discredit the United States and its policy of delivering democracy via drone attacks. Such materials were previously only broadcast overseas for the pleasure of foreign audiences but a provision in the 'Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012]' (H.R. 5736) would remove that restriction, making 'available, in the United States, motion pictures, films, video, audio, and other materials prepared for dissemination abroad or disseminated abroad pursuant to this Act….' Intended as an update to the post-World War II Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, the bill’s primary sponsors are Representatives Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Adam Smith (D-Washington). Currently, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is considering the proposal. If this amendment remains attached to the Fiscal Year 2013 NDAA and is passed by Congress and signed by the President, then for the first time in the history of the United States, citizens and residents will be exposed to government-produced propaganda in a manner that would impress even Orwell’s Big Brother. As expected neither Congressman Thornberry nor Smith admit that the underlying purpose of their amendment is the brainwashing of Americans by the federal government.

In fact, in a joint press statement released by the two lawmakers, Thornberry and Smith soft-pedal the purpose of the provision by trotting out the favorite trope of the claque constantly clamoring for the exchange of liberty for security. 'We continue to face a multitude of threats and we need to be able to counter them in a multitude of ways. Communication is among the most important,' said Rep. Thornberry. 'This outdated law ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible and transparent way. Congress has a responsibility to fix the situation,' Thornberry said. 'While the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 was developed to counter communism during the Cold War, it is outdated for the conflicts of today,' said Congressman Adam Smith. 'Effective strategic communication and public diplomacy should be front-and-center as we work to roll back al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among disaffected populations. An essential part of our efforts must be a coordinated, comprehensive, adequately resourced plan to counter their radical messages and undermine their recruitment abilities. To do this, Smith-Mundt must be updated to bolster our strategic communications and public diplomacy capacity on all fronts and mediums – especially online.' The expression of such specter-summoning sentiments is disappointing coming from Representative Smith. As has been well chronicled by The New American, Smith was the co-sponsor, along with Representative Justin Amash (R-Michigan) of the Smith-Amash Amendment to the NDAA 2013. This measure would have repealed the indefinite detention provision passed overwhelmingly last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. Shamefully, on May 18, Smith’s colleagues in the House of Representatives rejected the proposal by a vote of 182-238. Regardless of his previous championing of Constitutional liberties, Smith has now signed on to hasten the dawning of a new day of domestic agitprop in the United States. Some observers recognize the writing on the wall and the hand that holds the paint brush. 'Clearly there are ways to modernize for the information age without wiping out the distinction between domestic and foreign audiences,' Michael Shank of the Institute for Economics and Peace in Washington tells Buzzfeed, one of the online outlets who have boldly warned readers about the amendment. 'That Reps Adam Smith and Mac Thornberry want to roll back protections put in place by previously-serving Senators — who, in their wisdom, ensured limits to taxpayer–funded propaganda promulgated by the US government – is disconcerting and dangerous.' As one might expect, Representative Smith has refuted the charges that he supports the dissemination of pro-federal government (read: pro-protracted foreign conflict) throughout the Republic. A subsequent statement released by Smith re-casts his amendment in a less Goebbelian light. [']Unfortunately, recent articles have misinterpreted the intent and impact of the Thornberry-Smith amendment in the NDAA. This amendment is intended to ensure that the US government can get factual information out in a timely manner to counter extremist misinformation and propaganda. It does not and is not in any way intended to ‘legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences’ and, in fact, specifically ensures that the content to be rebroadcast or republished domestically by the Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) shall not influence public opinion in the US. It clearly states, no funds authorized to be appropriated to State Department or BBG for any activity shall be used to influence public opinion.['] While Representative Smith’s lips draw nigh unto the Constitution, the text of his bill is far from it. A fair reading of H.R. 5736 reveals that the 60-plus year prohibition on domestic distribution of 'motion pictures, films, video, audio, and other materials' produced by the federal government to promote is globalist agenda is explicitly repealed. In fact, despite the co-sponsors’ denials, Section 208(b) of their proposal plainly mandates that: [']Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors from engaging in any medium or form of communication, either directly or indirectly, because a United States domestic audience is or may be thereby exposed to program material, or based on a presumption of such exposure. Such material may be made available within the United States and disseminated, when appropriate, pursuant to sections 502 and 1005 of the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948….['] Citizens of this Republic are being continuously bombarded by the federal government’s big media shills with stories designed to soften the blow of the assault on liberty by wrapping the iron fist of fascism within the velvet glove of a safer America. The difference should this bill be passed is that the funds for the pummel of propaganda will come from our tax dollars. We are now monitored by our government without warrants and should we speak out against such deprivations we run the risk of having our names added to a list of potential threats to the security of the homeland. Once a person’s name is aggregated to that roster, there is little to prevent him from having his one-way ticket to Guantanamo Bay punched by the President. That’s assuming a drone attack wouldn’t be quicker." Image from

Propaganda - Alexander Fisher, Rantings of a Long - Haired Poet: A blog about anything and everything. From politics to poetry, to the angst ridden rantings of an American youth: "Friends-Did you think it could get any worse? Now they want to legalize the use of propaganda on American citizens -- and the vote could happen next week. An amendment legalizing the use of mass propaganda campaigns on American audiences has been inserted into the latest defense authorization bill — and that bill just passed the House."

When do we start the honest debate over the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act? - Matt Armstrong, Public Diplomacy Council: "What is it about U.S. public diplomacy that we must hide it from Americans? Is it so abhorrent that it would embarrass the taxpayer, upset the Congress (which has surprisingly little additional insight on the details of public diplomacy), or upend our democracy? Of our international broadcasting, such as the Voice of America, do we fear the content to be so persuasive and compelling that we dare not permit the American media, academia, nor the Congress, let alone the mere layperson, to have the right over oversight to hold accountable their government? The current punditry surrounding the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 leaves little room to use the word 'debate' due to the hyperbole, conflation, and liberal use of the word propaganda. It does, however, demand the frequent use of the word irony. The 1948 law meant to give America a voice, foster mutual understanding, empower engagement, and provide oversight has been so twisted that it is now invoked to muzzle, sow confusion over authorities, and ultimately obfuscates the practice, bureaucracy, and concept of public diplomacy to the extent that the Congress, the public, and even the State Department are at pains to provide examples of public diplomacy. ... The prodigious labeling of public diplomacy as propaganda undermines the legitimate debate, at times purposefully. Today's common use of the word, unlike the past, is weighted as a pejorative. ... If indeed U.S. public diplomacy, including our international broadcasting, is 'propaganda' and unfit for Americans, is it fit for foreign audiences? Should people and organizations in the U.S. have the liberty to review and decide on whether to share that which their tax dollar purchased? The intent of the original Smith-Mundt was the media and the Congress would decide what was fit for domestic eyes. In that sense alone, the amended Act is outdated by the expansion of the term media and ubiquity of communication. However, the authority implicitly granted to the media and individual Members of Congress by the original Act to mediate what came inside the borders was revoked in 1972. ... The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 deserves and requires an honest appraisal of its merits and demerits, as viewed by each person. The taxpayer and the public diplomats deserve as much. Or perhaps we should ask China's CCTV, Russia Today, or Wikileaks to provide oversight over our public diplomacy?"

When do we start the honest debate over the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act? "[B]e sure to see Josh Rogin’s Much ado about State Department ‘propaganda’. If you are attending the event at the Heritage Foundation today, 'Understanding the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act,' at 3p ET (apparently it will be webcast), and you’re on the fence or opposed to the availability of State Department public diplomacy material domestically, would you be so kind as to provide examples from the field of what Americans should not know about? And, if you are attending that Heritage event today, do read my post at the Public Diplomacy Council website, particularly the paragraph about the difference between access and dissemination, existing language in the law to promote the free flow of information outside Government control, and whether State should have separate coverage from the BBG."

Letter to the State Department - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "The following is [an excerpt of -- JB] a letter I sent to the Director General of the Department of State, the head Human Resources person and the individual who will likely be firing me sometime soon. It refers to a State Department message ('cable') she sent out reminding staff of the protections they have available to them as whistleblowers. ... As for retaliatory personnel practices, as you are aware the Department terminated me, defacto, in October 2011. By that time I had had my security clearance 'temporarily' suspended (despite three DS interrogations, a computer forensic analysis and a second, full field investigation, my clearance status is still 'temporary'

and no decision has been issued some eight months later), was thrown out of my assigned job after a year of successful work, never given an EER for that work and then involuntarily curtailed without my knowledge or participation, and was physically banned from the building for several months with HR unlawfully retaining physical possession of my ID card (no reason given). A Fax from a Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in Public Diplomacy to my publisher falsely accused me of a Federal crime of publishing classified information. Along the way I was placed on US Secret Service and Diplomatic Security watch lists as a potential danger to the Secretary of State. Later, I was made to sign an unprecedented and likely illegal Compliance Letter as a requirement just to continue work and forcibly assigned to a meaningless telework slot that in no way meets the acceptable standard for a Foreign Service Officer with 24 years of experience." Image from entry

CUSIB’s Ann Noonan speaks on importance of US radio for women in China - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – Executive Director Ann Noonan said that women and their families in China who are victims of human rights abuses need Voice of America (VOA) radio

and Radio Free Asia (RFA) broadcasts. She made that comment Tuesday at a conference on family planning policy and population development in the People’s Republic of China. Women’s Rights in China and Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, headed by the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting members Jing Zhang and Reggie Littlejohn sponsored the conference, which was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Flushing, NY." Image from entry

Broadcasting Board of Governors a Critical review - viva81, Public and Cultural Diplomacy 1 A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University: "The Broadcasting Board Of Governors (BBG) is an U.S led initiative, which aims to disseminate unbiased information through the means of radio and more recently other mediums of technology to enhance US relations with countries who have little democracy, highlighting the importance of freedom of press in geographical areas where totalitarian governments heavily censor all media that enables dialog between the masses. The goal of the BBG is to ensure that there is free and independent news flows thus allowing citizens to engaging in dialogue, sharing legitimate stories of issues affecting their societies and thus combatting censorship. Some of the radio stations founded by the organisation are Voice of America (VOC), Radio Sawa and Radio Free Asia (RFA). When reading through the BBG 2011 report, one can clearly see the good works that have been produced by this organisation who have been very instrumental in various part of the world such as the Middle East, Cuba and Burma and Africa but to name a few, and thus have now created a large following."

Soft power and the Creative Industries: China and Britain - CMC, "Palace of Westminster Wednesday, 25 April 2012[.] The Chinese Government has just committed itself to using ‘culture’ and ‘public diplomacy’ as a driver to increase global understanding about China. This reflects concern that China must do better in promoting its culture at home and abroad; recognition of the part that the creative industries will play in boosting domestic demand; determination that ‘made in China’ be replaced by ‘created in China’. To demonstrate that commitment, Vice-President Xi Jinping recently attended the signing of a major creative industry deal between Shanghai Media Group and the famous USA Dreamworks Group. Vice-President Xi’s attendance was a sign of the grasp of the importance of the creative industries at the highest level.

The implications for Britain of these culture industry initiatives by China: The British Government wants many more business links between the UK and Chinese creative industries. The UK is recognised as being one of the most advanced creative industry centres in the world and Chinese companies know this. The UK has been a global leader in cultural industries and public diplomacy since the foundation of the British Council and the BBC in the 1930s. The government of both countries are determined to increase cooperation. The Forum was opened by Minister Zhao Qizheng, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the CPPCC, and spokesperson for the CPPCC. Until recently head of the State Council’s Information Office, he is acknowledged as the pioneer of China’s public diplomacy. The Forum on April 25 at the Palace of Westminster drew UK attention to the recent policy changes in China, extrapolated on the implications for Britain, and provided a valuable occasion for our creative businesses to identify opportunities, and for ministers and parliamentarians to understand the potential of China partnerships." Image from article

Ingrid d'Hooghe -  Facebook: "After a few weeks of conferences, seminars, interviews and writing about China's public diplomacy I am now preparing for some Dutch public diplomacy: teaching 40 Chinese school children about The Netherlands. Tulips, bikes and Dutch Design will be part of the story."

Romania as a leading soft power state? - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "Ap[p]arently, Ernst and Young has released a Soft Power survey.index which ranks Romania as #15. While I like Romania, and found it to be a fascinating place with wonderful hospitality and great food, THERE IS NO WAY it is the slightest bit that influential in global affairs or carries that much soft power. What a joke! Sorry Romania, but no way.

You do scant little public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy or nationbranding. I couldn't name a cause you are involved in, or anything that would be cause for Romanian soft power, save perhaps Dracula. So I went to find the survey. Turns out Romania is ranked #15 as an emerging market soft power in the survey. Dracula is in the details...Sorry Romania and E and Y but soft power is more ephemeral than quantifiable. I question the survey itself and any particular relevance it has." Image from

Past Event: Public Diplomacy in Northeast Asia: A Comparative Perspective - "On May 30, the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies (CNAPS) at Brookings hosted a discussion examining the use of public diplomacy in Northeast Asia. Leading experts discussed the objectives, practices, opportunities and challenges in public diplomacy for China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Panelists addressed the history of public diplomacy in each country, how it is defined and the societal and governmental structures under which public diplomacy is practiced. They also discussed the public diplomacy goals and practices of each nation, offering suggestions for the enhancement of public diplomacy. After the program, speakers took audience questions."

Reflection - Layal Sulieman,  "The article 'Uploading dissonance: YouTube and the US occupation of Iraq' has many similar aspects that deals with Syria’s stance in the public eye, globally. The purpose of this article is 'to reconsider the nature of propaganda in an era of online media, open-access video-sharing and simplified production and distribution.' (Christensen, ‘Media, War and Conflict’, 2008).

Key ideas explored in this article include opposing viewpoints on YouTube (by the Syrian government, as well as other governments involved, the Syrian population and the public), propaganda vs. Public diplomacy." Image from

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism for Prospective Students - "sbw1956 on May 31, 2012 at 7:58 am said: And don’t forget that Public Diplomacy is another area to explore at Annenberg!"


Anne-Marie Slaughter on 21st Century Foreign Policy [interview] - Slaughter "Secretary Clinton ... has embraced government-to-society diplomacy and society-to-society diplomacy, which basically means connecting governments with people and connecting people with people. That is a far more complex challenge because there are billions of people.

When you start focusing on people rather than states you start focusing on all the complexities of their interactions, you think about how to build networks and you think about how to relate to different segments of society, like women and young people and entrepreneurs and scientists. It’s really a different vision of diplomacy." Via WM. Slaughter image from

Lost in America: Why "likability" isn't enough in a president - James Taranto, Wall Street Journal: "Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a member of the Polish resistance in World War II. The honor was well-deserved. Karski--who later came to America, naturalized, and taught at Georgetown University--crossed enemy lines in 1942 and reported back to the West on the atrocities in the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi death camps. Only in the president's remarks yesterday, he referred to them as 'Polish death camps.' That expression is neuralgic for Poles, who quite understandably do not wish to shoulder blame for horrors that an occupying power carried out on their soil. The White House website now carries a correction over the Obama transcript: '* Note--the language in asterisks below is historically inaccurate.

It should instead have been: 'Nazi death camps in German occupied Poland.' We regret the error.' Poland's leaders want to make sure of that. 'The White House will apologize for this outrageous mistake,' Bloomberg quotes Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski as having tweeted. 'It's a shame that such a momentous ceremony has been overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence.' Prime Minister Donald Tusk added: 'We can't accept such words in Poland, even if they are spoken by a leader of an allied country. Saying Polish concentration camps is as if there was no German responsibility, no Hitler.' U.S.-Polish relations had already been strained, in part because of Obama's 2009 decision to scrap plans for a missile-defense site in Poland--a decision announced on the 70th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which led to the invasion of Poland by the Nazis from the west and the Soviets from the east." Image from article, with caption: Prime Minister Tusk

Too Much Power for a President – Editorial, New York Times: It has been clear for years that the Obama administration believes the shadow war on terrorism gives it the power to choose targets for assassination, including Americans, without any oversight. On Tuesday, The New York Times revealed who was actually making the final decision on the biggest killings and drone strikes: President Obama himself. And that is very troubling. Mr. Obama has demonstrated that he can be thoughtful and farsighted, but, like all occupants of the Oval Office, he is a politician, subject to the pressures of re-election. No one in that position should be able to unilaterally order the killing of American citizens or foreigners located far from a battlefield — depriving Americans of their due-process rights — without the consent of someone outside his political inner circle. President Obama should publish clear guidelines for targeting to be carried out by nonpoliticians, making assassination truly a last resort, and allow an outside court to review the evidence before placing Americans on a kill list. And it should release the legal briefs upon which the targeted killing was based.

“Militants”: media propaganda: To avoid counting civilian deaths, Obama re-defined "militant" to mean "all military-agemales in a strike zone" – Glenn Greenwald, Salon:  Virtually every time the U.S. fires a missile from a drone and ends the lives of Muslims, American media outlets dutifully trumpet in headlines that the dead were ”militants” – even though those media outlets

literally do not have the slightest idea of who was actually killed.

National Security and International Exchange - Elizabeth Redden, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates delivered a rousing oration in favor of international education and exchange Tuesday. Addressing the thousands gathered for the annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators Conference, Gates described foreign language education, study abroad, and the recruitment of foreign students to U.S. campuses as key strategies in promoting America’s national security and economic interests.

Pakistan's Dangerous Anti-American Game: It's unwise to needle a superpower that you need for resources and global credibility - Sadanand Dhume, Wall Street Journal: Pakistan's dismal favorability rating in America means there's no real political cost to bringing Islamabad to heel by stepping up drone strikes, giving it a diplomatic cold shoulder and withholding financial support—all at the same time. Washington may even choose to add targeted sanctions against top ISI officials directly implicated in supporting terrorism. Pakistan is playing a game of chicken without fully grasping the consequences of losing.

What Does the Syrian Opposition Believe? A confidential survey of activists inside the country shows limited support for Islamists but high admiration for the U.S. and Turkey - David Pollock, Wall Street Journal: The core of the Syrian opposition inside the country is not made up of the Muslim Brotherhood or other fundamentalist forces, and certainly not of al Qaeda or other jihadi organizations. To be sure, a revolution started by secularists could pave the way for Islamists to win elections, as has occurred in Egypt. But the Syrian opposition is solidly favorable to the U.S. and overwhelmingly negative toward both Hezbollah and Iran.

With Plan X, Pentagon seeks to spread U.S. military might tocyberspace – Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post:  The Pentagon is turning to the private sector, universities and even computer-game companies as part of an ambitious effort to develop technologies to improve its cyberwarfare capabilities, launch effective attacks and withstand the likely retaliation. The previously unreported effort, which its authors have dubbed Plan X, marks a new phase in the nation’s fledgling military operations in cyberspace, which have focused more on protecting the Defense Department’s computer systems than on disrupting or destroying those of enemies.

U.S. techcompanies warn of threat to Internet from foreign governments – Ceclia Kang,  Washington Post: U.S. officials and high-tech business giants have launched an assault against what they view as a massive threat to the Internet and to Silicon Valley’s bottom lines: foreign governments. In a congressional hearing Thursday, they will warn lawmakers of a growing movement led by China, Russia and some Arab states to hand more control of the Web to the United Nations and place rules on the Internet that the U.S. companies say would empower governments to clamp down on civil rights and free speech. That could mean the Web might look drastically different in other countries than it does in the United States, opponents of the proposals say.

Trojan targets Iranian and Syrian dissidents via proxy tool: Web users in Iran and Syria aiming to circumvent censorship controls are being targeted with spyware, according to security researchers - BBC News. Via YO on Facebook.

Women in Islam -Ahsan Abbas, Western propaganda has been very successful in portraying the misinterpreted image of women in Islam. They consider women as weak, oppressed and second class citizen in the eyes of Islam. But the reality is not what is shown in the news, movies and stories. One of these propagandas is that Islam has restricted the woman to house only and there are no such rights been given to women which may be a part of happy life. The woman has no status of her own and is regarded as a slave of man. They totally ignore that it was Islam which stopped the burying of the daughters and gave her a high status in the society, it was Islamic law which gave the women the right to vote 1400 years ago as oppose to the west which allowed her a right to vote only few decades ago. It is Islam which make it obligatory upon every Muslim man and woman to ge teducation. Muslim women got fair amount of rights and respect in society, Islam is the most revolutionary liberalization of women’s rights the civilized world has ever seen.

NAM envoys criticize western propaganda against Iran's nuclear activities - Non Aligned Movement representatives

to the IAEA criticized western propaganda machine's lies about Iran's nuclear activities in this county's Parchin site.

Ombudsman: “Tolerant attitude does not mean that your child will become a representative of a sexual minority” - In an interview with Russian REGNUM news agency Armenian Ombudsman Karen Andreasyan spoke about the recent scandals around sexual minorities, saying that Armenian nationalist groups do not realize that discrediting the sphere of human rights in the fight against homosexuality may lead to future limitations to their own rights. “Under the protection of human rights we understand the protection of the rights of both nationalists and members of gay pride parades. So, I think tolerance, civility and demonstration to the world that violence in our society is condemned proceed from our very national interest,” said Andreasyan.

Turning to the question that many in Armenia are not acting against homosexuality but against the promotion of homosexuality through gay clubs or gay parades, Andreasyan said he did not view gay parades as propaganda. (Armenia has not, in fact, held any “gay parades”, however a recent “diversity” parade was viewed by some as endorsing the gay lifestyle and was disrupted by anti-homosexual extremists.) “If a dozen people meet in a house or a room it does not yet constitute propaganda. Everyone within the framework of their morality can be free, regardless of what others’ attitude towards it may be. As for propaganda, such as holding rallies, the distribution of booklets, then a selective attitude in this matter is necessary, as it should be found out what this propaganda aims at. The question is what message is sent to society. If you show pornographic materials to a child, I am against it. But if the matter concerns the protection of freedoms, then I am for (protection),” emphasized the human rights defender. Andreasyan image from article

Zimbabwe: UNWTO Speaks Against Sanctions - Sydney Kawadza, THE 20th Session of the United Nations World Tourism Authority set for Victoria Falls in August next year will provide the final ammunition in the war against negative propaganda against Zimbabwe. Speaking during the signing of the Trilateral Host Country and Golden Book on Tourism on Tuesday, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi said there was need for aggressive marketing of the event to the intended delegates. "The success of any conference, mega-event, and or exhibition, is a function of delegate turnout and participation. An absolute turnout will be a global endorsement of our destination with far wider implications on our geo-politics, international relations and diplomacy, notwithstanding the economic benefits. "Equally a 75 percent turnout will be very good, 50 percent fair and 30 percent an indictment! So both governments should invest in a major outreach, promotion and marketing of the event, and continuously benchmark against previous hosts." He said Zimbabwe had over the years suffered negative Western publicity.

The Techniques of Propaganda - It can be difficult to differentiate what defines propaganda as opposed to other forms of persuasion. Propaganda tends to have a level of subjectivity or lack of partiality that allows for its sympathetic interpretation of merely ‘education’ or ‘information’ if it is ‘our side’ who does it, while carrying the negative connotations of the word ‘propaganda’ if it is ‘the other side’ that does it; basically, we understand it depending on whether it comes from Us or Them. In a book by Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell, propaganda is defined as “the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.” In general, it is safe to say that propaganda can be considered a one-sided and biased informational message that appeals to the emotions rather than the intellect. Traditionally, most forms of propaganda have appeared as some form of print media, such as posters, pamphlets, newspapers, etc, while the growth of technology has facilitated its use into radio broadcasts, television, film, and internet. Another aspect to keep in mind is the similarity between propaganda and advertising. There are a number of problems with propaganda prima facie, but I will contend that its right to exist is not one of them. Since propaganda is subjective, it cannot legally or practically be separated from the right to engage in free and open speech. Problems arise only when propaganda incites violence or hatred, or when the means of propaganda becomes concentrated in too few hands, so that free speech and discussion is subverted. Both of these characteristics lead inexorably towards a totalitarian state, as can be seen in Communism/Stalinism and Fascism/Corporatism (according to Mussolini, “Fascism should more properly be called Corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power”). Therefore, all speech inciting hatred/violence/intolerance must not be tolerated.


30 Catastrophic Russian Wedding Photos: When bad taste and bad Photoshop meet eternal love - Mathieu S., Buzzfeed. Among them:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 29-30

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