Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 20

"Music Unites Everyone, except Neighbors."

--Via LV on Facebook


Israel Aims to Pressure US With Iran Talk - newsmaxworld.com: "A high-volume public debate in Israel over a possible imminent military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities is designed to pressure Washington to back its ally more firmly, experts say. Media chatter over Israel's intentions has become a cacophony, fed daily by pronouncements from politicians, retired generals, former security officials and various commentators. They fill newspaper columns and radio and TV broadcasts with their opinions for or against a pre-emptive Israeli operation against Iran, with or without US approval or assistance. Such talk has been further fuelled by the mass distribution of gas masks to the public, by tests of an SMS attack warning system and by speculation about possible Israeli casualty numbers in the event of an Iranian counter-attack. Defence Minister Ehud Barak and other senior officials have estimated a conflict could last 30 days and claim 500 Israeli lives. 'There is an orchestrated hysteria, deliberately timed, to put the country in a state of anxiety, artificial or not,' former military intelligence chief Uri Saguy wrote this weekend in the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper. Apart from preparing public opinion for the consequences of a conflict, the surge in public statements aims to push US President Barack Obama to take a more hawkish stance on Iran, said Denis Charbit, professor of political science at Israel's Open University. 'The use of this public diplomacy on the part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his defence minister aims to obtain a clearer commitment by the United States to attack if Iran continues its nuclear programme, or at least to give Israel the green light to do so,' he told AFP."

A New “Contact Group” for Coordinated International Diplomacy on Tibet? - Editorial Board, The Tibetan Political Review: "At a time when Tibetans mourn the 49th self-immolation in Tibet, some uplifting news comes out of Washington DC. Two members of Congress have released an August 9 letter they sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling on the Obama Administration to strengthen public diplomacy and form a multilateral forum to resolve the Tibet crisis."

Baylor music instructor teaches in war-torn countries - Regina Dennis, wacotrib.com: "When Baylor University music professor Brad Bolen was offered a chance to teach piano lessons to young students in Iraq, he had more than a few reservations. 'My first thought was, ‘Are you crazy?’ ' Bolen said of the offer from American Voices, a nonprofit group that hosts music and arts programs in countries across the globe. 'My second one was there can’t possibly be any people there at the level that I’ve worked with my whole life to help or who could have that much familiarity with Western music.'

Bolen has taught piano lessons to students in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan through a summer camp sponsored by nonprofit American Voices. But what he found instead was a country full of charm despite its civil struggles. And he was inspired by students who didn’t let the wars around them deter their focus on nurturing their musical talents. 'I can’t think of very many places where I can win that many kids over so fast and feel like I’ve inspired them and really changed their lives,' Bolen said. Now, Bolen wants to create a greater opportunity for the young musicians to expand their studies. The Baylor School of Music has started an American Voices Scholarship Fund and is seeking donations to help students from the country study music at Baylor." Image from article, with caption: Baylor professor Brad Bolen with student Mohammed Akmed, 16, of Baghdad during a piano masterclass lesson in Iraq in July. Bolen has taught piano lessons to students in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan through a summer camp sponsored by nonprofit American Voices.Via PR on facebook

World Music as Cultural Diplomacy? - thelondonembassy.blogspot.com: "The increasing connectedness of world populations is developing a practice of international and cultural relations that by-passes state agencies, with creators and consumers moving freely and directly, in full control of expression, production and distribution. Cultural relations would be my preferred term to describe this activity. Being generally neutral, it just describes human relations between collective identities in the international cultural arena. These are occurring regardless of types of agent, means or objective – unlike government – and are being conducted for mutual or unilateral benefits, on a simple case by case basis. Modern cultural diplomacy therefore is no more than a restricted form of cultural relation, one that can only occur under license from governments and their agents, for these remain focussed in the exchange of cultural ideas, goods or services on ‘mutual understanding’, which has as its direct or indirect objective the continuing pursuit of soft power. Cultural diplomacy therefore is your state’s way to control the instinctive and much more organic practice of your very own cultural relations."

Former RFE/RL president's plan for VOA: 1) relegate it to public diplomacy, 2) bust its union - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "[Excerpts from extensive Elliott commentary on this issue:] "Dr. Gedmin would eliminate the VOA union?

Now that would send a powerful message to the world about the 'freedom and democracy' enshrined in the Broadcasting Board of Governors mission statement. ... [T]he audience for international broadcasting is, collectively, much smarter than all the decision makers and think tank fellows within the Beltway. The audience would spot almost immediately a broadcasting service that is a mix of journalism and 'mission.' They will tune to another broadcasting outlet, or visit another website, that does not insult their intelligence." Image from entry

MEA acts firm - Dilip Cherian Blog: "Despite intense opposition from the mighty IAS lobby, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is likely to gets its way in creating a new post of secretary (public affairs). Apparently the IAS lobby, including Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth believe that MEA, with five secretaries, does not need another secretary-level post. Even though there are five secretaries, another post is in the making. But the MEA mandarins found strong backing from their minister S.M. Krishna who has been pushing the idea of another secretary, despite resistance from Mr Seth and others. The secretary for public affairs is expected to be a nodal post dealing with visa matters, Haj issues, matter of publicity and public diplomacy. The new secretary would also be responsible for aligning the four divisions within the ministry to ensure smooth functioning. The issue has now been referred to the Department of Personnel and Training and the Finance Ministry and is expected to be placed before the Cabinet soon. Will the IAS lobby still stymie the plan or will MEA’s mandarins get their way?"


Photo of the Day: Now Showing Rubber AK-47 Assault Rifles in Afghanistan - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "Given the continuing number of casualties from the ‘green-on-blue’ attacks in Afghanistan and the recent directive that all Coalition troops carry a loaded weapon at all times, we find this photo of Afghan police trainees with their rubber AK-47 assault rifles more than interesting. The Threat Matrix blog reports that Taliban leader Mullah Omar claims that the Taliban “cleverly infiltrated in the ranks of the enemy according to the plan given to them last year.” He urges government officials and security personnel to defect and join the Taliban as it is their religious duty to do so, and then warns that “the day is not far away that the invading enemy will flee Afghanistan.”

Obviously Mullah Omar is glossing over the fact about 2024. But this guy is more crafty than we thought. He probably learned somewhere that our politicians who hold the purse strings for all spending hate the idea of the US “fleeing” Afghanistan. Raising the specter of “fleeing” troops would help make sure that Congress will continue funding this nutty war, and in the process, the Taliban get their cut to fund their fight of a lifetime. A win-win situation except for the dead and the broken soldiers. And so here we are with rubber assault rifles. Image from entry, with caption: Two Afghan Uniform Police recruits practice aiming their rubber AK-47 assault rifles during a handcuff training exercise at Forward Operating Base Shank, Logar province, Afghanistan, July 5, 2012.

Serious Questions about a Haiti Reconstruction Puff Piece - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "As I learned in Iraq, building things is relatively easy given massive amounts of money.

The real magic is sustainability." Image from entry

More Propaganda from Israel - migrant-rights.org: Government propaganda against African migrants workers in Israel reappears in the same form over and over again: migrants are blamed for some menace threat that endangers the very foundation of Israel itself. From Knesset members to local mayors, government authorities have blamed migrants for the country’s economic woes, for purported criminal activity, and for “altering the face of Israel." Most recently, the Israeli government has blamed migrants for inadvertently funding Hamas. In this article published by Haaretz, a government spokesperson offers an obscure explanation of this allegation: migrants tend to use non-institutional means to send remittances home, which often involves enrolling a Palestinian intermediary. This Palestinian middleman, who takes a small share of the cash, is essentially the only “proof” supporting these inflated claims. The assumption that the Palestinians in question are working for Hamas, appears simply that – an assumption. Such propaganda has incited violence against African migrants, a phenomena that media outlets and rights organizations documented widely this past year.Israel’s tendency to transform the most ordinary of things into an existential threat is a well-acknowledged tactic.

Is al-Assad winning the propaganda war in Syria? - Ben Lynfield, Global Post, CNN: One image of the Syrian conflict that has resonated widely in the West is that of corpses, including those of children, who have fallen victim to government attacks. But a far more heroic image of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's security forces is being fostered by the regime’s own media, part of a determined effort to keep up morale as fighting continues to rage in Aleppo and other cities.

Nightly on state television, pictures are shown of children kissing soldiers or being hoisted aloft by them, with a patriotic song, “This is the Nation’s Army,” playing in the background. Image from article: Analysts say that for Bashar al-Assad, the key to winning the media war is not credibility, but a strong, consistent message.

Crackdown on Pro-EU Propaganda in Schools - Alison Little, express.co.uk: Britain has warned Brussels that any attempts to brainwash UK children into backing the EU is illegal. Education Secretary Michael Gove ordered an investigation into an EU scheme that provides books and other teaching materials for British schools.

His civil servants are thought to have used talks with EU officials to stress that British law requires schools to teach politics in a “balanced and unbiased” way. MPs welcomed Mr Gove’s action but they want him to do more to ensure pupils are not being bombarded with pro-EU propaganda. Gove image from article

Miss China becomes Miss World - Washington Post: Yu Wenxia was crowned Miss World 2012. The 23-year-old music student from China edged out Sophie Elizabeth Moulds of Wales and Jessica Michelle Kahawaty of Australia for the title.

DJ Kraviz Feted All Over Europe, but Not in Russia - Alec Luhn, Moscow Times: A former dentist, Nina Kraviz to DJ every Friday at the venerable Moscow club Propaganda, but now she comes home to her apartment near metro station Mayakovskaya only about once a month, she said. Kraviz grew up in Irkutsk, staying up into the wee hours to tape late-night radio programming from Moscow and listening to American house and techno music pioneers

like Armando and Jeff Mills. After completing a degree in dentistry in Moscow, she went into practice and later worked at a veterans' hospital. Meanwhile, she was moonlighting as a music writer at magazines like Ptyuch and Afisha. In 2003, she quit her hospital job and began DJing. A turning point in her career came in 2006 when she attended Red Bull Music Academy in Melbourne, Australia, where she studied with DJ and producer Matt Edwards. Since 2009, she has released several 12-inches on Edwards' London-based label Rekids, as well as her new full-length. Kraviz has never released on a Russian label. She voiced many complaints with the Russian electronic music scene — and Russia in general — including rampant sexism, jealousy and a "deeply retro" belief in the necessity of personal connections. Kraviz image from article

10 great public relations and propaganda quotes compiled by Ronn Torossian, owner of a leading PR Agency - jewocity.com: “He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, but in the right word. The power of sound has always been greater than the power of sense.” Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim, 1900 “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” George W. Bush “The bigger the lie, the more believable it becomes to the average Arab citizen. Thus, Arab media never fail to be less than outrageous. They blamed the defeat on none other than Israel, as though self-defense and self-preservation was not a right to be exercised by the Jewish enemy.” Nonie Darwish “If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference, and choose their news sources accordingly.” Thomas Sowell “It is the emergence of mass media which makes possible the use of propaganda techniques on a societal scale.”Jacques Ellul “In the West “yes” is “yes” and “no” is “no.” But when Arabs hear the word “no” from an American they often take it as an insult. That is because Arabs don’t say the word “no” directly. Very often they say “in Shaalah” when they mean “no.” In dealing with Westerners, an Arab may say “yes’ when they really don’t mean it, and that gets them in a lot of trouble with Westerners.” Nonie Darwish “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell “In Russia we only had two TV channels. Channel One was propaganda. Channel Two consisted of a KGB officer telling you: Turn back at once to Channel One. “Yakov Smirnoff “Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.” Eric Hoffer “Propaganda, to be effective, must be believed. To be believed, it must be credible. To be credible, it must be true." Hubert Humphrey.

USSR posters - flickr.com: among them:


Houston Mitchell, "Augusta National OKs 1st female members, including Condoleezza Rice," latimes.com


Via LV on Facebook

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19

“11.4. 38: One egg. 11.5.38: One egg. 11.6. 38: Two eggs.”

--From George Orwell's Diaries; image from


Armed with U.S. education, many leaders take on world - Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times: "The State Department lists nearly 300 world leaders, current and former, who chose U.S. institutions, a trend that analysts say reinforced the nation’s status as the global leader in higher education but also underscores the figures’ desire — or, in many cases, need — to familiarize themselves with the United States, its politics and its culture. ... The federal government’s Fulbright Program, analysts say, deserves significant credit for the influx of foreign students — both future leaders and typical undergraduates — coming to the U.S. The program awards money to academically eligible Americans to study overseas and offers grants to foreigners to attend U.S. institutions, assuming that they have the necessary grades to do so. That, along with other efforts by the government and the universities, has opened the international floodgates and dramatically raised the number of students leaving home for American colleges. ... Chinese students accounted for much

of the recent growth, with the total number from the burgeoning Asian power increasing by 23 percent overall and by 43 percent at the undergraduate level. In the 2010-11 school year, 157,558 Chinese were studying at American schools, far more than from the No. 2 country, India, which had 103,895. Other nations with rocky relationships with the U.S. — Russia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, among others — also have sent their young people to the U.S." Image from

Conference outlines public diplomacy strategy - Li Huiru, china.org.cn: "Charhar public diplomacy conference 2012, China's most influential non-governmental public diplomacy conference, kicked off in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, on Aug. 18. Nearly 200 high-ranking government officials, business leaders, diplomats, experts on international relations, media and other related fields, and top media representatives are attending the two-day conference. The theme of this year's conference

is ‘International Communication of Chinese Culture'. Charhar Institute president Han Fangming explained in his opening address the reason for choosing culture as the meeting's core focus. 'Culture is one of the most focused aspects in public diplomacy,' he said. 'The ways a country relates to other countries have been multiplied. Based on the principle of coexistence of multiple cultures and accommodation of divergent views, cultural communication can help us resolve the misunderstandings and reach consensus.' Han is also deputy director of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)'s foreign affairs committee. Zheng Wantong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, delivered an opening speech titled 'Public diplomacy involves all of us.' ...  In his keynote speech, Zhao Qizheng, director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the CPPCC, stressed Chinese enterprises' role in the export of Chinese culture. 'There are increasingly more Chinese enterprises doing business outside the country,' Zhao said. 'The Chinese government has given great support to these enterprises. The ‘go global' strategy helps them expand [into] the international market. It is their responsibility to carry out public diplomacy.' ...  Charhar Institute is China's foremost public diplomacy think-tank. Founded in Oct. 2009, it is a non-partisan independent research organization. The institute is headquartered at Charhar

Ranch in Hebei Province and has offices in Beijing and Guangzhou." Above image from article, with caption: Charhar public diplomacy conference 2012, China's most influential non-governmental public diplomacy conference kicked off in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province; below image from

Joint China-US publication a boon for diplomacy - Li Huiru, china.org.cn: "A seminar on cross-border dialogue through books and television, part of the two-day Charar Forum on Public diplomacy in Hebei Province, emphasized how cooperation on joint media projects can strengthen bilateral ties. On the first day of the two-day forum, a seminar titled Cross-border Dialogue through Books and Television drew great attention from experts and scholars attending the Forum. Co-hosted by the Center for International Communication Studies under China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and the International Public Opinion Research Center under Beijing International Studies University (BISU), the seminar presented with the audiences with four successful cross-cultural communication cases for book publishing and TV production. ... In the first case study, Huang Youyi, member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee and vice president of CIPG, shared with the audiences the experiences and lessons learned on the publication of a book series titled The Culture and Civilization of China.

A planned ten-book series, jointly published by CIPG and Yale University Press, will focus on the culture and civilization of China. The deal, the largest cooperative publishing effort between China and the US to-date, is winning a great deal of attention in international publishing circles. ... Though the project is a non-governmental effort, many top leaders from both sides lobbied to push the project forward. High-profile supporters include former president George H.W. Bush, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, and Joseph Verner Reed, undersecretary-general and special adviser to the United Nations. China appointed Rong Yiren, former vice president of the People's Republic of China, as honorary chair on the China side." Image from article, with caption: Yu Yunquan (l.), deputy director of the Center for International Communication Studies, hosts the seminar titled Cross-border Dialogue through Books and Television at the Charchar Forum on Public Diplomacy in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province. The center is engaged in systematic research on international communication theories and practices.

Zheng: Public diplomacy 'involves the whole nation' - Li Huiru, china.org.cn: "In his opening speech titled 'Public diplomacy involves all of us,' Zheng Wantong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, said China's soft power initiatives must build 'a solid domestic base' before they can be effective abroad. ... To promote China's public diplomacy efforts, Zheng suggested the government copy the example of the country's National Fitness Regulations to develop a public diplomacy strategy which mobilizes the whole nation.

Under the guidance of the professional diplomats, with the promulgation of social elites, working together with the general public, a public diplomacy human resource system will gradually be built, he said. He also stressed the CPPCC's important role in pushing forward public diplomacy. He also encouraged the NGOs and multinational corporations to get involved in the public diplomacy in ways which play to their strengths. Additionally, researchers, especially in the fields of diplomacy and international relations, should place more emphasis on the theoretical and practical study of the public diplomacy." See also. Image from article, with caption: Zheng Wantong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, spoke at the Charhar public diplomacy conference 2012 in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, on Aug. 18.

The Image of Lithuania in Spain: Progress Achieved and New Ways to Explore - Jordi Arrufat, The Lithuania Tribune: "[A] brief mention of actions performed by Lithuanian diplomacy in Spain, an area where some interesting steps have been taken but certainly more could be done. At present the scope of the Embassy of Lithuania in Spain is limited, so their cultural activities, a source of highly valued public diplomacy, are few and far between. However, I should point out that the Embassy has had a Facebook page since March 2011 where they post news about Lithuania in Spanish a positive development enabling dialogue with followers. ... [P]rogress has been made, Lithuania is no longer seen as a grey corner of the Soviet Union like [sic] it was 20 years ago. The country has a great basketball team, an embassy in Madrid with no fear of engaging in dialogue through social networks, thereby giving the country a fresh and modern image It has an integrated diaspora within Spanish society, and the mayor of its capital city has huge potential. Now all Lithuania needs is to come up with a unified and appealing message while simultaneously increasing the cultural projection of the country."

US Embassy Job Vacancies~Tanzania August 2012 - sokonibongo.blogspot.com: "The US Embassy is seeking an individual for the position of Information Resources Center Director in the Public Affairs section. BASIC FUNCTION OF POSITION Directs and manages the Information Resource Center (IRC). Oversees the research, reference, cataloging and outreach services conducted by the IRC staff. Coordinates services and programs with American Corners. Plans and implements outreach programs to advance the Mission's goals. Develops and maintains continuing personal contact with the highest level target audience members."


Al Jazeera English documentary on Baltimore, with "boarded-up rowhouses, drugs, death, crime scenes," won't be seen on cable in Baltimore - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting.

Image from article

The Once and Future War - James Traub, New York Times: We will not be able to figure out how to alter Iran’s behavior unless we understand its motives. If Iran’s orientation is fundamentally defensive, it can be contained, as the Soviet Union was. And if Iran is a rational calculator, it can be moved, as other states can be moved, by a combination of blandishments and threats. But the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, insists that Iran is a messianic state obsessed with annihilating its enemies, above all Israel. In that case, almost any price, including war, would be worth paying to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. President Obama has agreed that Iran cannot be contained, and thus that patience is not a workable policy. But he also seems far more concerned than Netanyahu — or Mitt Romney — about the potentially cataclysmic consequences of a military strike. It may be, in fact, that a contained Iran is less dangerous to the global order than an Iran with nothing to lose.

Syria's fault lines: Amid the violence, religious and ethnic strife is on the rise - Eden Naby and Jamsheed K. Choksy, latimes.com: the outcome in Syria need not be one of sectarian fracture. Most Syrians do not support or engage in violence along religious and ethnic lines. Leaders of the Free Syrian Army and other indigenous opposition groups have attempted to keep sectarianism at bay, knowing it is detrimental to their cause. Their efforts need to be bolstered from the outside. The United States and the European Union should make their political and fiscal assistance to the rebel groups conditional on respect for human rights and religious freedom.

Likewise, the United Nations must insist that the legitimate rights recognized by international charters and conventions be protected. The Free Syrian Army and other indigenous rebel groups, if held firmly by the international community to support rights, can turn the tide against Sunni militants and other intolerant factions, thereby ensuring that a post-Assad Syrian society is a multiethnic and multireligious one. Image from

Egypt’s new leaders must accept reality - Dennis Ross, Washington Post: The Muslim Brotherhood is wedded to its ideology and cannot admit anything that might call its basic philosophy into question. But the United States and others should not accommodate the Brotherhood’s alternative reality. This is not to say that we have to agree on everything. Policy differences are understandable — but it is not acceptable to deny reality and foster a narrative and policies based on untruths and fictions.

Don’t Fear All Islamists, Fear Salafis - Robin Wright, New York Times: American policy recently had its own awakening after 60 years of support for autocratic rulers. The United States opted to embrace people power and electoral change in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Yemen. Yet Washington still embraces authoritarian Gulf monarchies like Saudi Arabia, tolerating their vague promises of reform and even pledging the United States’ might to protect them.

The time is right for ‘rules of the road’ in the cosmos - Michael Krepon, Washington Post: What happens in space will heavily influence whether relations between China and the United States become more dangerous or more cooperative. The absence of rules of the road in space jeopardizes international, national and economic security.

Here's How China's Propaganda Machine Wants Journalists To Cover Food Safety Concerns - Mamta Badkar, businessinsider.com: After the devastating floods hit Beijing last month, China's propaganda machine went into overdrive to stop negative coverage of the disaster. One of the latest directives from China Digital Times shows Chinese government authorities instructions to journalists and bloggers on reporting about food safety concerns:.

Взаимная независимость: Анна Толстова о выставке «За железным занавесом. Официальное и независимое искусство Советского Союза и Польши. 1945–1989» - 'Коммерсантъ Weekend' [ Mutual Independence: Anna Tolstova about the Exhibit, "Behind the Iron Curtain. Official and Independent Art of the Soviet Union and Poland, 1945-1999" - Kommersant]

Image from article, with caption: Eduard Gorokhovskii, "Lenin-Stalin, " 1989

Saturday, August 18, 2012

August 18

"During his Watergate testimony, John Dean told of an interview with John Mitchell. Mitchell reminded Dean, in a telling Chiamus, that 'When the going gets tough, the tough get going!' Dean read it as an exhortation not to defend the Nixon administration but, as Mitchell himself was doing, to save his own hide."

--Richard A. Lanham, a Handlist of Rhetorical Terms (second edition, 1991), p. 8; links provided by PDPR compiler; image from


ASP Podcast – Public Diplomacy and National Security - americansecurityproject.org: "Paul Rockower [the Director of Communications for American Voices] joined ASP to discuss his experiences of public diplomacy, cultural links and American Voices’ Youth Excellence on Stage (YES) Academy. Rockower recently returned from the Kurdistan region of Iraq, where American Voices has been conducting cultural diplomacy. Listen in to hear more about how cultural diplomacy and better overseas communication are national security imperatives for the U.S.


(a) Global Cipher - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "An amazing cipher session in DC caught by Nomadic Wax of a bevy of hip hop artists from Afrika in DC on a State Dept exchange program"

(b) Nicholas Lowry appraises World War II propaganda posters - PBS


Show Topic - Propaganda - Interview with Dr. Nancy Snow - theirishsideofthemoon.ie


US, Pak to revive strategic talks soon - saach.tv: "The United States and Pakistan are trying to revive their annual strategic dialogue, disrupted by recent tensions between the two allies, and may announce the renewal at a high-level meeting in New York next month. ... The third ministerial session of the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue was held in Washington in October 2010.

The next session was to be held in Islamabad but it was postponed due to a rapid deterioration in bilateral ties, which began with the US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad and worsened when another raid killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November. The dialogue includes 11 core groups: Economy and Trade, Energy, Defence, Security, Strategic Stability and Non-Proliferation, Law Enforcement and Counter-terrorism, Science and Technology, Education, Agriculture, Water, Health and Communication and Public Diplomacy." Image from article

Propaganda, Soft Power, and Frank Miller - The ogre of the tale: "Le Monde comment[s] on Miller’s [Frank Miller, American writer, artist, and film director] proclaimed intention to ressuscitate the propagandistic quality of comics on behalf of the all-American project: pure and strong heroes of democracy fighting evil, suspiciously effiminate, authoritarian, perverse Easterners. Superman, Capitain America, enlisted in supporting American power and American values. What is the most interesting here, in the context of this blog, is what the incident shows us about propaganda. Propaganda, as Miller seems to conceive it, is mostly about selling a foreign policy and a national project to a domestic audience.

'Smashing Capitain America' kicks Hitler’s butt in 1943 not so much to convince the Germans to abandon their war effort, but to tell Americans that they are strong, that they fight the good war and will win. Propaganda has a double meaning, domestic and foreign. And actually most public diplomacy, at least in countries like the US, aims at domestic audiences. On the other hand, comics, like 'Hollywood-diplomacy', give us another example of soft power: the crafting and diffusion of notions about society, the relations between men and women, liberty and justice, free speech. Comics are part of the external image the US show to the world. This might be too much for Frank Miller, who obviously has come to think his work in terms of wartime propaganda, but the 'liberal' comics he decries might do more to sell America and American values abroad than his efforts. What gives the best image of the US abroad: manly all-American heroes smashing caricaturized muslims, or the very possibility that a DC Comics superhero could openly be a homosexual?" Miller image from

U.S. Propaganda and the Cultural Cold War - James Chisem, e-ir.info: "[T]he efficacy of Western Cold War propaganda has been overstated. ... [P]rivate economic interest groups and civil society organisations often hindered, and in some cases undermined, the implementation of a coherent propaganda strategy. ... The United States was a relative latecomer to the world of mass propaganda and public diplomacy. Whilst the British and French had come to comprehend the potential benefits offered by supplementing conventional methods of statecraft with cultural and economic initiatives during the twilight years of the nineteenth century, decision-makers on the other side of the Atlantic were reluctant to implicate the ideas that had underpinned the domestic body-politic in the formulation and implementation of foreign policy.

Their hesitancy stemmed from a widely held belief that culture 'belonged to the realm of creativity, public taste, and free enterprise', as well as from a tendency in educated circles to associate state propaganda with manipulation and deception. The emergence of structural and ideological bi-polarity in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War led to a fundamental reappraisal of this stance in Washington. In the period 1945-1947, a number of key political figures successfully argued that the propagation of ideas should be considered as one of the principal conduits for countering Soviet aggression in Eastern Europe and halting the global expansion of Marxism-Leninism." Image from

Alhurra renews N2K, weekly program about digital trends - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Who's Your Next School Board Member? Someone will be voting in your place on Thursday, choosing an elected official for a two year term. Who will be the next member of our school board? - radioelkgrove.blogspot.com: "The School Board meets Thursday to choose a replacement Supervisor for mid-term resignee Pollyanna Cooper-Levangie. How far reaching is this appointment, and who are the candidates? ... First, Matthew Boyd Hoyt is an Elk Grove High school Graduate and former Valedictorian. Hoyt was formerly Special Assistant in Public Diplomacy and Affairs with the US Department of State, and spent 7 years with Kaiser Foundation, Health Plan, Oakland as an analyst and Executive Consultant in operations. Hoyt has recently relocated back to the District, returning, as he says, to his 'roots'."

Korean Embassy Cultural/Public Affairs Intern, Fall 2012 - internweb.com: "The Korean Cultural Center Washington DC at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea is seeking intern applications for the Fall 2012 semester. The mission of the Korean Cultural Center is to promote better understanding of Korea and its culture among the U.S. public in the Washington DC region through a variety of public events and programs. The Korean Cultural Center also serves as the embassys public affairs office, working behind the scenes to ensure that the Republic of Korea is well represented in the United States. Students and young professionals interested in gaining experience in public diplomacy, public affairs, cultural affairs, event planning, journalism, project management, or related fields are encouraged to apply."

Nazi's - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "As I compile a blog on public diplomacy (and its problematical relationship to propaganda), why is it that I regularly see Nazi, when referred to in the plural, cited as Nazi's?"

Image from entry, with caption: At least this guy .... can punctuate. No wonder hes an allAmerican nut with a whatyamacallit after about on his sign


For peace with Iran, prepare for war - Amos Yadlin, Washington Post: The best assurance the U.S. president can give Israel is a commitment to, if all else fails, resort to military action to protect critical U.S interests. But time is running out to make this commitment credible to the people of the United States, Israel and Iran.

What the Olympics medal count says about who runs the world - Richard N. Haass, Washington Post: What does the final medal tally reveal about contemporary theories of international relations? First things first. Those worried about the decline of U.S. power can exhale. This is still a world of American primacy; the United States is first among unequals. But primacy is not dominance. Nonpolarity, not unipolarity, not even multipolarity, defines the 21st century. See also.

Beyond the Red Lines - Jinjirrie, kadaitcha.com: Singling itself out through daily human rights abuses, war crimes, ultra-racism, violence and brutal oppression, Israel continues to delegitimise itself and poison its brand.

Syria's online battlefield: Who is winning the war? - Shahzad Abdul, le Monde/Worldcrunch: “Internet will be a tyrant’s best friend,” Evgeny Morozov, a Belarusian researcher specialized in the political and social implications of new technologies, predicted several years ago. During the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, which were often labeled “2.0,” social networks and smartphones played an important role in popular mobilizations.

In Syria, the Ba’athist regime seems to have learned its lessons from the Arab Spring, and is thinking hard about how to deal with cyber-dissidence. Beyond the traditional armed conflict on the ground, a second front has emerged online, rife with fake information, manipulation, propaganda and counter-propaganda. It is hard to untangle truths from falsehoods. Image from article, with caption: A Free Syrian Army member holds a weapon and a Syrian revolutionary flag during a training session on the outskirts of Idlib, Syria

Can the US and its Allies arbitrarily Violate International Law? - Rick Rozoff and John Robles, globalresearch.ca: Rick Rozoff discusses General Assembly resolutions on Syria and how the US and its allies are circumventing standard procedure in order to win a propaganda battle. “Everything that the West and its Persian Gulf allies have done over the last seventeen months has worsened the situation, [costing] more Syrian lives,” Rozoff said

Nonstop Propaganda: Public-relations “improvements” on the New York subway - city-journal.org: Benjamin A. Plotinsky: There’s something disturbing about government-sponsored advertising. You don’t have to cite the extremes—the state-celebrating telescreen news in 1984, the ubiquitous slogans of Mao’s China—to agree that the subway is no place for propaganda. But as it happens, the MTA is already verging on Orwellian menace. “We have big plans to make buses move faster,” reads a nebulous MTA ad posted on the side of some city buses. “Please don’t get in the way. The fine for each violation is $115 or more.” And that’s all, with no explanation of what constitutes a “violation” or how the hapless citizen can avoid being fined.

Anti-war propaganda posters exhibited in Hue - talkvietnam.com: These posters, by Picasso, Matta, Pignon, etc., have been preserved by Vietnamese painter Le Ba Dang since 1968. On the Day of Intellectual Circles for Vietnam, March 23, 1968, Le Ba Dang and many famous painters signed the Call for Intellectuals to act for ”A day of intellectuals for Vietnam” in Paris, to call for the end of the Vietnam War. Painter Le Ba Dang is now 90 years old and lives in France but Mr. Dang always wishes for Hue to become a center of arts of Vietnam.

After the exhibition, Dang will present all posters and other artworks to the Thua Thien-Hue authorities, including 8 anti-Vietnam War posters (1968), 37 posters on the October Revolution by Russian artists (1966), 10 pottery artworks, four wood statues, one large-sized painting, two carpet paintings, two paper paintings. So far, Dang has presented 390 artworks to Hue city, which are displayed at the Le Ba Dang Art Center. Image from article

War II Movies - Propaganda and Patriotism - myezinearticledirectory.blogspot.com: Throughout the early the main 1940's, Hollywood made numerous World War II movies that not just sought to entertain, but additionally to heighten the spirit of "patriotism" in the American people. These films would influence the entry of america to the war and support our military effort when finally involved. War was raging in the uk and for the duration of Europe while America was still in its isolationist period. Director Alfred Hitchcock released Foreign Correspondent in 1940 allowing American audiences an insightful check out the war without actually providing the identity of the enemy. Charlie Chaplin made a decision to become more direct. In the truly amazing Dictator (1940), directed by Chaplin, that he gave us a scorching spoof of fascism and the Nazi party. Individuals were easily identified behind the thinly veiled character names used, and portrayed while the dictatorial, power hungry, tyrants they were. The production was brilliantly written and executed by Chaplin and continues to be regarded among the most classic films of the century. Following the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, America entered to the war. Hollywood would now begin the release of a few of the most popular War movies ever. Republic Images film Flying Tigers (1942) showcased American combat pilots fighting for China against Japanese invaders right before the invasion of Pearl Harbor. The film stared John Wayne, who for the duration of his career would end up being one of the more patriotic a-listers ever. 1942 honored the tragic, but courageous story concerning the battle of Wake Island. As the events were grimly real, the Hollywood portrayal was inaccurate. The film gave audiences the impression that the island's defenders fought to the final man, when in reality, the overwhelming odds and repeated assaults by Japanese troops resulted in the surrender of the island. However, Hollywood hadn't failed within their telling of the story since the film Wake Island served its primary purpose regarding war time propaganda and fueled feelings of patriotism. In 1943 the film classic Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, plainly positioned the Nazis while the villains in the war and depicted the conquered folks of Europe as glorified, courageous resisters of Nazi Germany.

German Propaganda on the Eastern Front: Surrender Leaflets from the Siege of Leningrad - navonanumis.blogspot.com: Propaganda was a large part of the war on the eastern front. Shown below is a propaganda leaflet issued by the German army in January 1943 at the height of the Leningrad siege to be dropped over Soviet army positions. Such leaflets were dropped by the millions from airplanes and also by special shells to Red Army positions to demoralize the troops and convince them to surrender. Each leaflet was a “pass” for surrender.

These leaflets were proactively destroyed by the Soviet political commanders to prevent total capitulation of the Red Army. Any Soviet soldier found in possession of these surrender leaflets were shot to death immediately. Translation of text in Russian as follows: "Soldiers of the Leningrad front! Only a month ago you received a medal for liberation of "the city of Lenin," and now you suddenly again forced to go to your death to liberate the same Leningrad! Already in the Spring 250,000 of Russian soldiers were killed or wounded for this so called "liberation" and now look how many of your comrades died in the past few days of your offensive. Why would you die? So your wives and children, your fathers and mothers further starve? So Jews and their friends further took the last grain from starving farmers? Drop your weapons! Defect to Us! Many of your commanders already defected to us and they now know that your commissars lie about terrible conditions in German POW camps. The more of you surrender and defect to us the sooner this terrible war to end and the hated Bolshevism rule to end and to begin a new happy life for the Russian People!"

British propaganda: the Napoleon myth - mikerendell.com: "In just about every cartoon of Napoleon the Emperor is shown as being of below-average height. Cartoonists loved to belittle the man – and yet he was five feet six inches tall (at a time when the average Frenchman was three inches shorter than this!) We even talk of a ‘Napoleon Complex’ (short man, big chip on shoulder) and yet his lack of stature seems to have been a product of British propaganda. Perhaps it stemmed from the fact that he surrounded himself with officers from the Imperial Guard, who were chosen for their tall stature and whose height was then topped by plumed helmets. But I suspect it was all down to an attempt to make Napoleon appear weaker and more insignificant – the equivalent of the Second World War contention that Hitler only had one, and that Himmler was very similar…As an example of a beautifully scurrilous cartoon here is

one of my favourites: taken from Teggs Caricatures and entitled 'The Arch Dutchess Maria Louisa going to take her Nap.' The Emperor had divorced his first wife Josephine, and had chosen as his new bride someone he had never met and who only learned of her betrothal after the French and Austrian governments had already completed all negotiations. Maria Louisa was only nineteen, and had been brought up to detest the French, so her marriage must have been something of a shock to her system to say the least. But ‘she did her duty’ and bore a son within a year of marrying the Emperor in 1810. The cartoon shows her in bed, feet sticking out at the bottom, while she says 'My Dear Nap: your bed accommodations are very indifferent! Too short by a yard! I wonder how Josephine put up with such things even as long as she did!!!' to which ‘Nap’ replies: 'Indeed Maria I do not well understand you: the Empress Josephine who knew things better than I hope you do, never grumbled. La Diable! I will never be able to get what I want after all!!!' There is of course the underlying implication that Maria Louisa is talking, not about the length of the bed, but about her husband’s manhood. His first wife Josephine knew about ‘these things’ because of her allegedly adulterous affairs, whereas he hoped that the virtuous Maria Louise was a complete innocent! Poor Napoleon: in his first marriage he was ridiculed for being unable to satisfy his wife’s demands (we still chuckle at the thought of 'Not tonight Josephine') and in his second marriage the cartoonists suggest that he wasn’t getting it at all ! It just goes to show, there is nothing new under the sun about making jokes about the lack of sexual prowess of your enemy!" Image from article


--From; on American dentistry, please see.

--Via RB on Fcebook

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17


--A Foundation says to the unsuccessful applicant: "for your work, we have nothing but praise" -- an example of adianoeta, "an expression that has an obvious meaning and an unsuspected secret one underneath." From Richard A. Lanham, Handlist of Rhetorical Terms (Second Edition, 1991), p. 2; image from


U.S. State Department withdraws Kindle contract proposal - Laura Hazard Owen,
paidcontent.org: "The U.S. State Department, which was considering a $16.5-million no-bid contract with Amazon to provide Kindles, content and services for overseas language programs, has officially withdrawn its proposal, saying it 'intends to conduct additional market research and reexamine its requirements for this program.' ... A State Department spokesperson provided the following statement: [']The Department of State continues to pursue technology that enhances our ability to provide international audiences with relevant, real-time content on U.S. society, culture, and English language learning.

In order to conduct additional market research and further explore technological options for our public diplomacy programs, the Department of State opted on August 15 to end the Request for Proposals for the Amazon Kindle in favor of proceeding with a Request for Information (RFI) process. This action will open to all vendors the opportunity to respond to the Department’s requirements for a mobile learning program.['] ... The National Federation for the Blind filed a complaint with the State Department saying that any agreement to purchase devices that are inaccessible to the blind is a violation of the law, but it is unclear whether the complaint had any bearing on the deal’s failure." Image from article

Tara Soneshine on Public diplomacy - uscenterforcitizendiplomacy.org: "Undersecretary Sonenshine [Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine] will be coming to Des Moines to be a featured speaker at the J-Conference, a citizen diplomacy conference being held by the J-Center and the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy. The objectives of the conference are mainly to discuss and develop greater programs for improving citizen diplomacy activity between the United States and Japan in the realms of cultural exchange, business, and education. Visit the J-Center page to learn more about the J-Conference as well as US-Japan citizen diplomacy opportunities."

Victoria Nuland Spokesperson Daily Press Briefing Washington, DC August 15, 2012, U.S. State Department - state.gov: "MS. NULAND: Happy Wednesday, everybody. Before we get started, let me welcome the participants in the Fundamentals of Public Diplomacy class from FSI [Foreign Service Institute, Department of State]. Go forth and do good public diplomacy work. Let’s go to what is on your minds.

QUESTION: I don’t have anything that’s really worthy of starting the briefing, so – MS. NULAND: It’s August. All right." Nuland image from

Art Talk with Battery Dance Company - Liz Auclair, Art Works: The Official Blog of the National Endowment for the Arts: “'Completely unpredictable and uniformly fabulous'—that’s how Jonathan Hollander describes the results of Battery Dance Company‘s Dancing to Connect program. In more than 50 countries, Dancing to Connect has taught young people, most of whom have no previous dance training, how to use movement to express themselves. In just a week, Dancing to Connect teaching artists work with the students to create and perform a dance piece devised entirely from their own creativity. Recently, as part of a Mission Continues Fellowship, Roman Baca—a dancer, choreographer, and former U.S. Marine —collaborated with Battery Dance to bring Dancing to Continue to Iraq. (You can read more about Baca’s experience in our new edition of NEA Arts.) To learn more about Dancing to Connect and Battery Dance Company’s cultural diplomacy efforts we spoke with Hollander, who founded Battery Dance Company in 1976 and leads the organization as artistic and executive director. ...  [Q:] You have collaborated with the State Department and U.S. embassies on cultural diplomacy programming. What is it about the arts, and dance in particular, that makes it such a successful tool for this kind of outreach?

HOLLANDER: So many reasons. If the audience is young people, and the State Department is very concerned about the next generation, what country in the world has young people who don’t like to dance? Now, have they ever done modern dance? Have they ever choreographed a dance? Probably not. But we don’t tell them, 'You can’t move this way.' We let them move the way they move. That’s another part of the secret ingredient—we’re not telling them to imitate us. Because that you could not do in a week. Instead we say, 'We think you have it within you and you just haven’t found it yet so we’re going to help you see if you can find it.' 'It' being your own self-expression through movement. Language is less important. Theater couldn’t do this because theater relies on language and words and we’re working in countries like Japan where people study English from a very early age and they can write it and read it beautifully but they can’t speak it…. The University of Freiburg did a study of our program in terms of English-language learning and they found that students were speaking much better English in the dance workshops than they were in their English classes because the motivation was so great. Which also speaks to the motivation of young people to dance. We have been very fortunate to work with the State Department, to work with U.S. embassies around the world. I was a Fulbright lecturer in India in 1992 and an American Field Service Exchange Student in high school so the cross-cultural experience of living in different places, adapting to different cultures, and sharing with people in very different circumstances has been something natural to me, and I’ve bred that culture in Battery Dance Company. One of things that I think allowed us to be successful in working with embassies is because what we want to do is in keeping with their mission and goals. They want to reach the next generation. They want to reach populations that are unexposed to American culture and may not have the opportunity to engage in the arts in a formalized way." Image from article, with caption: Dancing to Connect teaching artists work with students in Madrid, Spain.

Cultural Diplomacy in the Age of... - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "The title of my lecture today at the [State Department] Foreign Service Institute as seen above. I was kindly invited by FSI to lecture about public diplomacy, cultural diplomacy and gastrodiplomacy. They had invited me under the auspices of speaking about 'Cultural Diplomacy in the Age of Social Media' but I put the kabosh on such notions, and spun off to discuss the need for PD 1.0 and 19th Century Statecraft."

Gallup/BBG survey: ‘Massive’ increase in mobile phone, Internet use in Nigeria - Adam Clayton Powell III, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The use of mobile telephones and the Internet have soared in Nigeria in the past few years, with clear implications for BBG and VOA activity in West Africa. These were the major findings of a survey released here this morning by the Broadcasting Board of Governors and Gallup organization. 73% of Nigerians now reporting owning their own mobile phones, up from 52% three years ago. Cell phone use is more prevalent in cities – 85% of urban dwellers have their own phones. And cell phone use increases with education: among Nigerians with post-secondary schooling, 95% own a cell phone, according to the survey. 20% of Nigerians reported using the Internet – again stronger among the educated and urban dwellers. But that is misleading: Nigerians using their telephones to access the Internet – especially for email, Facebook and other social media sites – do not count that as Internet use. Facebook alone is used by 23% of Nigerians, a number higher than those reporting they use the net. And according to the survey, Facebook is the primary reason most Nigerians want to use the Internet. ... One major reason African use of the Internet

is growing so rapidly is that, unlike in the U.S., the cheapest low-end cell phones can go online. ... Africans’ use of mobile phones to listen to radio was another trend documented by the survey. 39% of all cell phone owners said they listened to the radio on their telephones. The reason: again, unlike telephones in the U.S., African cell phones come hard wired for radio reception. ... But with all of the growth of digital media, who listens to old-fashioned radio receivers? The poor, the old, and people who live in rural areas." Image from, with caption: Nigeria's Mobile Money Providers Struggling.

Pursuing Soft Power, China Puts Stamp on Africa’s News - Andrew Jacobs, New York Times: "At a time when most Western broadcasting and newspaper companies are retrenching, China’s state-run news media giants are rapidly expanding in Africa and across the developing world. They are hoping to bolster China’s image and influence around the globe, particularly in regions rich in the natural resources needed to fuel China’s powerhouse industries and help feed its immense population. The $7 billion campaign, part of a Chinese Communist Party bid to expand the country’s soft power, is based in part on the notion that biased Western news media have painted a distorted portrait of China. ... Beijing’s bid to provide a counterpoint to Western influence, however, is raising alarms among human rights activists, news media advocates and American officials, who cite a record of censorship that has earned China

a reputation as one of the world’s most restrictive countries for journalism. 'We are engaged in an information war, and we are losing that war,' Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned a Congressional committee last year, citing the growing influence of state-backed outlets like Russia Today and CCTV. Many fear that the impact of China’s news media juggernaut will be especially pronounced in countries where freedoms are fragile. ... CCTV News, which claims 200 million viewers outside China, is now available in six languages; one of its latest ventures is an Arabic news channel. To increase its reach — and compete with Western news organizations — Xinhua often gives away dispatches to financially struggling news media outlets in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. At the same time, governments in Europe and the United States are scaling back support for independent journalism in the developing world, even as most private broadcasters and newspapers have closed foreign bureaus." Image from article, with caption: CCTV’s set in Nairobi, Kenya. China’s state news agency, Xinhua, also gives away dispatches to struggling news outlets in Africa.

RT (Russia Today) plans to "sell its video content globally" as its government subsidy decreases - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Politicians to Apple: 'Ban Protocols of Zion' app - Gil Shefler, jpost.com: "Israeli politicians joined criticism of Apple on Thursday over a new phone application of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious early-20th-century anti-Semitic forgery, recently made available on its iTunes store.

Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein called on the electronics giant to ban the app, arguing it perpetuated the canard of a Jewish international conspiracy to take over the world. '[Apple] forbids pornography, they should also forbid racism,' Edelstein was quoted as saying." Image from article


Army suicide rate in July hits highest one-month tally - Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY: Soldiers killed themselves at a rate faster than one per day in July, the Army announced Thursday.

There were 38 deaths either confirmed or suspected as suicides, the highest one-month tally in recent Army history, the service said. Image from article

In latest "insider" shooting, Afghan policeman kills 2 American troops - An Afghan policeman shot dead two American troops and wounded a third on Friday, military officials said, bringing the number of U.S. forces killed in such “insider” shootings to nine in 11 days.

Image from article, with caption: Afghan police check vehicles Herat, where security has been intensified ahead of Eid al-Fitr, a festival marking the end of Ramadan.

As Afghanistan turns: The shake-up in Karzai's government portends the nation's divided future - Sarah Chayes,latimes.com: Afghans and experienced observers say a plausible scenario upon the large-scale departure of international troops in 2014 is either disintegration into civil conflict or a de facto division of power along ethnic lines, with a Pakistan-backed Pashtun bloc in the south and east lining up against one or more northern non-Pashtun blocs that might well gain military support from India and Uzbekistan, if not Iran.

Steps for a more active U.S. policy in Syria - Stephen J. Hadley, Washington Post: A more active Syria policy does not involve U.S. airstrikes or “boots on the ground,” although the use of force should remain on the table to further pressure Assad.

One hopes that U.S. military intervention will not be necessary. But that will be the case only if the United States provides appropriate numbers of antitank and antiaircraft weapons — despite the real risk that some weapons may fall into the wrong hands — so that U.S.-vetted opposition units can counter Assad’s stepped-up use of aircraft and helicopters against his own people. That way, when Assad falls, it will be the Syrian people who have toppled him. This is what Syrians clearly want. But they also want, need and deserve a little help from their friends. Image from

Latest UN Syria Report Compiled by Washington Think-Tanker - americanoverkill.com: The UN is by no means pluralistic. It is a tool of the corporate-financier interests of the nations that dominate it, specifically interests emanating from Wall Street and London and those in their geopolitical orbit. Not only is the most recent UN report on Syria throwaway propaganda, it may serve as an exhibit in future war crime tribunals leveled against those conspiring against the people of Syria.

Israel's Iran Itch - Roger Cohen, New York Times: Iran is not enriching uranium, as it claims, for a power plant of epic dysfunction. But nor has it yet united the various elements needed to make a bomb.

If it ever makes the decision to do so, I expect the U.S. military response to be swift and devastating. The wise choice for Israel is therefore patience. Image from

The Constant Israeli Hype Over Iran - Nima Shirazi: mwcnews.net: Hype, based on dubious claims and false information, is nothing new when it comes to American and Israeli warmongering.

What Obama Isn't Saying About Iran: The sanctions aren't 'crippling,' Tehran isn't isolated, and there aren't any tough American red lines - David Feith, Wall Street Journal: Would this president, so dedicated to multilateralism (except where targeting al Qaeda is concerned), launch a major military campaign against Iran even without Russian and Chinese support at the U.N.? Do Iran's leaders think he would? Or have they noticed that American officials often repeat the "all-options-on-the-table" mantra as mere throat clearing before they list all the reasons why attacking Iran is a terrifying prospect? Those reasons are plain to see. An attack could lead to a major loss of life, to regional war, to Iranians rallying around their regime, to global economic pain. And it could fail. But the question that counts is whether these risks outweigh the risks of a nuclear-capable Iran. That's a hard question for any democratic government and its citizens to grapple with. The Obama administration's rhetorical snow job only makes it harder.

The Right to Counsel at Guantánamo Bay - Editorial, New York Times: Lawyers for the government and for detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are scheduled to square off in federal court in Washington on Friday over new rules imposed this spring by the Obama administration restricting access to counsel for prisoners not actively challenging their detention. They are neither fair nor constitutional. The rules are unconstitutional because they deny detainees an essential right and meaningful court review. By giving such discretion to the Guantánamo commander, the Obama administration asserts virtually unbridled executive power. It has taken a regrettable step in undermining the rule of law. Below image from, with caption: An image of President Barack Obama is put up at Guantanamo Bay.

Obama turns back the clock on Guantanamo - Baher Azmy, Washington Post: Far from closing the prison camp as he promised, President Obama is steadily returning Guantanamo to the secretive and hopeless internment camp that he vilified as a candidate.

Another Casualty of War: Soap Operas - Syrian production companies have shelved new shows; investors with ties to President Bashar al-Assad’s government have found their bank accounts frozen; and viewers throughout the Arab world have called for a boycott of Syrian satellite channels. A tax break issued by the government has failed to revive the industry. While the outcome of the fighting is uncertain, one thing seems clear: in losing the soap opera, the Syrian government has lost one of its most powerful means of spreading ideas and political messages, both within and beyond the country’s borders. One of the most popular soap operas ever, “Bab al-Hara” or “The Neighborhood’s Gate,” recounts the adventures of the inhabitants of an old Damascus neighborhood who, regardless of their sectarian backgrounds, were united in their opposition to the French. It may have been propaganda, but for a while, it worked.

Facebook removes Hezbollah pages - New Europe: The policy against terror incitement and hate propagation of the social site has forced the elimination of all the pages belonging to Hezbollah and the group’s television network Al-Manar, Israel Radio reported. Facebook took this decision after Hezbollah's appearance in 2004 on the State Department’s list of terror organizations. The site uses this list to decide “which groups may be involved in the promotion of violence," explained Frederic Wolens, a Facebook spokesperson.

This policy was also extended to Al-Manar -- also placed on the list in 2004 for being a propaganda arm of the political group -- whose official page was deleted on 16 August. Hezbollah never had an official page, but its community site was also removed. Last month, Apple and Google took steps to eliminate Hezbollah from their online stores, including an app for streaming Al-Manar videos. Image from article

Keep calm and read this column; How a British WWII propaganda poster obtained modern meme status - Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com: The first encounter prompts a smirk, maybe even a chuckle: "Keep calm and call mom." The second sighting, "Keep calm and eat a cupcake," raises questions about overexposure. By the third, fourth and fifth encounters—"Keep calm and drink vodka," "Keep calm and go shopping," "Keep calm and love cats"—you start experiencing dueling senses of immunity and hypersensitivity to this once-charming, now-ubiquitous slogan. The original phrase, of course, is

"Keep calm and carry on," coined by the British government's Ministry of Information in 1939 as part of an effort to boost morale at the outset of World War II. An agency called His Majesty's Stationery Office designed three propaganda posters, all featuring King George VI's crown, to be displayed around Great Britain. "Your courage, your cheerfulness, your resolution will bring us victory" and "Freedom is in peril" were plastered throughout the public arena. The third -- "Keep calm and carry on" -- was reserved for display in the event of a German invasion. When a German invasion never happened, most of the "keep calm" posters were reportedly destroyed, but one was discovered in 2000 in second-hand bookshop Barter Books, whose owners made and distributed copies. The copyright had long since expired, so the image is now public domain -- hence the ubiquity of the original saying and its myriad knock-offs. Image from article

"I don't want fair treatment—we want propaganda" - Sharon Lurye, chicagoreader.com: "While writing a preview of the Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Theatre Festival, I stumbled across an interview taken with Hoffman himself in 1969. The Yippie rabble-rouser was sitting in jail at the time, awaiting trial for conspiracy to foment a riot at the 1968 National Democratic Convention in Chicago. ... Reader senior writer Steve Bogira ... reacted strongly

to [a] quote from the interview, where Hoffman talks about propaganda: LAPORTE: So you're not getting any fair treatment [from the media] at all? HOFFMAN: I don't want fair treatment—we want propaganda. We want newspaper guys dedicated to the overthrow of the system. I mean the concept of fair reporting is as ridiculous as the concept of a fair trial. 'I think propaganda is a journalist's enemy,' Bogira argued, defining propaganda as 'trying to make a case for something rather than trying to discover something—trying to win converts to your cause.'" Image from article, with caption: Abbie Hoffman in rabble-rousing mode


(A) Putting pro-gun theory to test, man shoots himself in backside - Dan Turner, latimes.com

(B) From: "Fashion Victim: Condi Shills For Some Damn Sports Team," Princess Sparkle Pony's Photoblog; see also John Brown, "10 Percent Intellectual": The Mind of Condoleezza Rice," PR Watch (2008)


--Lavender fields, France; via AB on Facebook


"LAPORTE: If your revolution succeeds, what kind of government do you plan to have? Or do you plan to have any government?
HOFFMAN: (looking in an address book) Wait a second, I'll look . . . it's under 'G' . . . no government.
LAPORTE: Well, let's talk a little about you. Where are you from and . . .
HOFFMAN: What's the difference as to what kind I want anyway? I mean I'm just one of the people just like you, I mean what kind do you want? Did you ever think about it?
LAPORTE: I'm a reporter, I can't have opinions.
HOFFMAN: Yeah . . . you sound like a tape recorder, you know? They don't have opinions either, you know? Why do you want to be somebody without opinions? Is that like a long spent desire of yours?
LAPORTE: Well, I have opinions and most of them are closer to yours than to the other side.
HOFFMAN: Oh, I doubt it, they're not closer to mine.
LAPORTE: I think so.
HOFFMAN: God, mine are ridiculous, why do you want them closer to mine?

--From an interview by a 16-year old reporter with Yippie Abbie Hoffman, sitting in jail in 1969