Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 30-31

"rhapsody in bruise"

--The elderly Ira Gershwin, describing himself, his melancholy good humor intact, despite various ailments; image from


Remarks for Edward R. Murrow Program For Journalists - Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State: "I came to the State Department, where I now oversee the Department of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs at the State Department, which is known as 'R.' ... Edward Roscoe Murrow was the first [sic] director of the United States Information Agency – which in 1999 became part of the Department for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. He was the founding father of public diplomacy – this Edward 'R' Murrow … . Stands to reason we’d call our department 'R.' ... Murrow’s legacy lives on. Freedom of the press and freedom of information are front and center in the frame of our public diplomacy. We scrutinize news media restrictions and intimidations as part of our annual review of human rights. We determine whether foreign governments participate in or condone violations of press freedom. ... We need information to bring light and awareness. We need it to help reduce the darkness and ignorance that breed intolerance and misunderstanding. Civil society needs it. Economies need it. And human beings need it – because an informed citizenry is an enlightened one. The Edward R. Murrow program is one of the ways that we can support the people who safeguard these freedoms. Over the past seven years, it has brought close to 1000 leaders like you to examine the role of journalism in the U.S." Note from your PDPR compiler: Murrow was the fourth director of USIA.

US use of Vietnam website 'under review' - Matthew Lee, Associated Press, "The State Department said Wednesday it is reviewing a U.S. Embassy's use of a wildly popular Vietnamese website laden with suspected pirated music and Hollywood movies to promote American values, including respect for intellectual property rights. Spokesman Mark Toner said the Hanoi embassy's social media account with was created to reach out to Vietnamese youth in a restricted environment but that concerns about digital piracy on the site had prompted it to reconsider.

'Vietnam is a demanding environment for public diplomacy and for reaching appropriate audiences on any given bilateral or multilateral issue,' Toner told reporters. He said the embassy started its 'Zingme' account 'as a way to deliver important messages on a range of bilateral and multilateral issues, including intellectual property rights.' 'That said, I can say that the use of this particular site is now under review,' Toner said. He added that the review was being conducted because 'some of the contents of this website are suspect and run counter to our Internet freedom policy.'" Image from

Social Media’s Influence on Public Diplomacy Practice - Marc Hedman, fourtherecordpd: "The use of social media has exponentially exploded among internet users (themselves experiencing exponential growth). Microblogs, social networking sites, blogs and video sites have all gone through enormous growth over the past half decade. This has changed the communications landscape in many highly populated regions of the world; ones that the United States government wants to participate in. The State Department has been pulled into social media rather than leading with a push. State has recognized, correctly, that there are conversations being had across social media platforms and it further recognizes that it needs to be a part of those conversations. There are certainly big advantages that social media platforms have over older media platforms (including static websites). But the biggest draw to social media is the massive and growing audience – not it’s [sic] many capabilities. Social media has opened platforms for ongoing digital conversations. This alone has reoriented a lot of what State is focused on. This also goes for other public diplomacy practitioners. Instead of focusing on monologue-style broadcasts, or small high-impact events, public diplomacy practitioners have now added a further dimension of broad, wide-reaching digital engagement. It is certainly partially true in this regard that the ‘medium is the message.’ The rules of social media do not allow for the wide success of authoritative, unsolicited advice from a foreign government or for private conversations between government officials. The medium is designed to cater to a wide audience, transparency and plenty of room for dissent (minus any nefarious home government interventions). This reorientation requires massive structural changes for any organization. A large number of communications officers are needed to participate in the many ongoing conversations; public diplomacy officials need to be able to engage in impromptu dialogue with audience publics; messages need to be crafted to reflect the audience in age, gender, socioeconomic status and fluency in current affairs; and more research needs to be done on audience analysis to identify which networks the PD agency wants to curry favor with. These are very different objectives than public diplomacy agencies held even five to ten years ago, and extremely different from those of the Cold War era. The question is whether to invest in more attention, money, personnel and time to the social media arena of public diplomacy or to focus on other priorities such as broadcasting or in-the-flesh dialogue and collaborative events. If social media use trends continue rising (and there’s no reason to think that they won’t – especially with the concurrent trend of rising use of mobile devices) then it makes sense to put into place lot of these structural changes and recognize that objectives have changed and will continue to change toward the direction of massive, digital engagement."

Objectives Matter - Calvin Hayes, Applied Public Diplomacy Group 3 Blog: "The use of social media technologies signals a great transformation in improving the work of public diplomacy, but should not alter its objectives. Social media should only be used as a tool to enhance and amplify core values that already exist. Developing tools and strategies to better communicate with all demographics is not only important, but is increasingly necessary. The State Department must be more relevant now than ever before in order to effectively respond to the demands and challenges posed by the global landscape. The only thing that is constant is change and institutions must evolve or die. Public Diplomacy is an integral component of communicating foreign policy.

Therefore public diplomacy must reflect foreign policy objectives, but the medium should never overshadow the message. Mobile technology and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are a source of power, but should not alter national objectives and priorities. Traditional public diplomacy greatly relied on face- to- face communication and personal exchange. However, a more networked and digital society has afforded diplomats and other state actors the opportunity to communicate with publics via virtual exchange. The key objectives of U.S. public diplomacy is [sic]  to inform, engage and influence foreign audiences. We must make sure that our social media outreach is used strategically so that our information is both accurate and trustworthy." Image from

On the Need for Long-Term Strategic Thinking in the Middle East - Matthew Wallin, "From a public diplomacy standpoint, America must be very careful about giving military and other logistical support to groups that it knows very little about. Emphasis must be placed on building long-term relationships, understanding the people with which we are communicating, and fully understanding their actual needs. ... An understanding

of long-term strategy dictates that arming rebel groups may neither serve the strategic interests of the United States nor the democratic aspirations of the moderate Syrian public. ... Before we make those choices, we need to better understand with whom and what we’re dealing. In Syria, it does not appear that we do. Image from

Public Diplomacy and the Flight to the Academy - John Brown, Notes and Essays: "Public diplomacy is, to some, a Cold-War relic that is an anachronism in the 21st century. ... As an American PD practitioner on behalf of our government during ten years of the Cold War and for a decade after this conflict ended, I basically considered myself like a jazz performer, improvising, as best as I could, in order to promote American national interests. ... One distinguished veteran of the United States Information Agency (USIA) put it best regarding public diplomats in the past century, who so often did 'what they wanted' in the field, uncontrolled by internet-delivered instructions from Washington: 'We got away with murder,' he once told me over lunch. ... Today, American public diplomacy, once implemented by an independent agency (the above-mentioned USIA), is tucked away at the regulations-driven State Department, some would say like a coffin at a funeral home, despite the good intentions of the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs ... and her dedicated staff. And PD has increasingly become, like dinosaurs, 'a subject of study, encased in theory,' with a growing number of universities offering courses/degrees in 'pubic diplomacy' (pardon the non-typo) for students hoping, in these hard economic times, to get jobs (while amassing huge debts) by earning a 'PD' degree, often from ivory-tower professors who have themselves never engaged in this very down-to-earth, 'real-life' activity."

Radio Liberty-in-Exile appeals to Obama and Romney for help, former Reagan campaign official adds his support - BBG Watcher, "The Radio Liberty-in-Exile group of fired journalists and those who resigned in protest against actions of the American management of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has appealed to both President Obama and the Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney to save their jobs and programs in Russia. One of the Radio Liberty-in-Exile leaders, a popular Russian journalist Mikhail Sokholov, said that this should not a partisan issue in the United States. ... In a separate action, a former Reagan for President Campaign official Richard Walicki has sent a letter to Governor Romney with an appeal to help Radio Liberty journalists return to work and to support U.S. international broadcasting.

Dr. Walicki served as a legislative aide in both houses of Congress and worked in the Nationalities Division of the Reagan for President Campaign. ... In another action, more than 2500 former Radio Liberty listeners in Russia have also sent a petition to the Obama administration and Governor Romney to save the jobs of Radio Liberty journalists and their programs." Image from

A Class Act of Diplomacy: Leading with Humility - Cynthia Schneider, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "The last place that the Polish Ambassador to the United States Ryszard Schnepf might have been expected to appear in his first two weeks in Washington was the opening performance of Our Class, the searing play

about a dark episode in Poland’s history: the 1941 massacre of Jewish citizens by their Catholic neighbors in Jedwabne. But there he was, delivering a moving talk before he took his seat at Theater J. ... Ambassador Schnepf’s moving appearance at the opening of Our Class contrasts with the conspicuous absence of official representation from China at the opening of the first exhibition of the most famous Chinese artist, Ai Wei Wei, at the Hirshorn Museum. ... China continues to open Confucius Institutes around the world promoting Chinese culture, while preventing the most famous living practitioner of Chinese culture to attend the Washington, D.C. exhibition of his art – the most significant public display of modern Chinese art ever seen in the U.S. Rather than celebrating the exhibition, the official representatives of the Chinese government avoid it. ... Humor, humility, and, of course, honesty, all are qualities that work in public and cultural diplomacy. In attending and speaking at Our Class, Ambassador Schnepf understood that leading with humility can be more effective than the self-promotion that often accompanies public diplomacy. We can all learn from his example." Image from

Secretary-General’s remarks to luncheon at International Academic Conference Promoting Peace and Development through shorts and the role of public diplomacy - "The United Nations is proud to count many star athletes among our goodwill ambassadors. These famous players take our message to tennis matches and football fields. They engage whole new audiences in our work. And they achieve public diplomacy through sports."

“Every election is determined by the people who show up” – Larry J. Sabato, Academic and pollster - Ian Hughess, Global conversations: A blog about the work of the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone: "Once upon a time diplomacy was a country-to-country and government-to-government affair. That is not the case today. President Koroma recognised this when he said that “one-track diplomacy” no longer fits in the modern world. Today, public diplomacy encompasses more than just insiders and it stretches wider than what used to be called foreign policy. As diplomats seek to understand their host countries they have to interact with politicians, officials, academics, journalists, business and civil society.

In short, diplomacy and public relations have come together. In Sierra Leone I talk to government and civil society, Parliament and business, universities and media. I participate in traditional workshops, seminars and briefings but also need to engage in digital diplomacy and hope soon to be using Facebook and Twitter as well as this blog. With this matrix of media and messages, diplomacy now focuses on key themes that shape our world, make is safe and generate prosperity: democracy, the rule of law, equality of opportunity and human rights. While I talk about these things I am not prescriptive: it is for Sierra Leoneans to decide what they think and what they want. My key public diplomacy role is to contribute to the debate and to understand what it says about Sierra Leone." Image from entry

Russia eyes 'soft power' to achieve hard goals in foreign policy "Moscow would use 'soft power' to achieve its diplomatic goals, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday. 'Good use of soft power objectively helps us reach priorities in international activities,' Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told a meeting of the Public Chamber's Council for International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy.

Among Russian soft power tools, Gatilov listed the extension of cultural, informational and humanitarian presence abroad. He also stressed the importance of more visible Russian participation in the world educational market, connection with fellow citizens permanently living abroad and more tangible migration programs. 'The world should receive more reliable information about Russia,' Gatilov said, adding the government's attempts to increase its soft power would pay off in the near future. The term soft power was coined by Harvard scholar Joseph Nye to describe the spread of a country's influence through non-military means and has become a widely used foreign policy objective worldwide." Image from

Australia's overseas representation - punching below our weight? - "This report [Australia's overseas representation - punching below our weight?] argues that the operations of Australia's diplomatic network are challenged by a lack of funding, the shift of global power towards Asia, the impact of technology, and the rising importance of public diplomacy."

'Azerbaijan should continue its assertive international public diplomacy' - News.Az: "News.Az interviews Huseyin Bagci, Chairman of the Department of International Relations at the Middle East Technical University. ... [Q:] What kind of role may Turkey play in the Karabakh peace process? [A:] Turkey can do much in this conflict except stand by to Azerbaijan in all regional and international organizations from BSEC to OCSE, NATO, UN etc. Turkish public also support Azeri position and as this years remembrance of Khojaly massacre from 1992 have been widely have been organized in Turkey.

In 52 universities and several city demonstrations all over Turkey showed that Turkey is with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan should continue its 'assertive international public diplomacy' as it seems to be very successful so far. In all European as well as other countries Azerbaijan should do it and Turkish Diaspora could help its Azeri brothers in this respect. Turkey's support to Azerbaijan will continue without making any difference under any government now and in future in Turkey." Bagci image from article

Exhibition explores hidden meanings behind the Queen’swardrobe - Press release, "An exhibition exploring how Queen Elizabeth II’s dresses played a pivotal role in British public diplomacy will mark the opening launch of ‘Thinking Futures’, a week-long festival [5 to 9 Nov] showcasing some of the most innovative social sciences research undertaken at the University of Bristol. Curated by Professor Jutta Weldes from the University’s School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, ‘Dressing up and queening it: Queen Elizabeth II, dress, and British public diplomacy’ examines the importance of the Queen’s dresses and their use

in public diplomacy at home and abroad. Highlighting an intriguing aspect of UK domestic and foreign politics that is typically overlooked in the study of politics, the exhibition focuses on the diverse political, cultural and economic meanings through a selection of images of the Queen’s dress on state visits and other important occasions. Dressing up and queening it: Queen Elizabeth II, dress, and British public diplomacy will take place at 12 noon in the Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building. ... A full programme is available on the ‘Thinking Futures’ website." Image from entry, with caption:  Queen Elizabeth II's dresses

Migrants as 'Translators': Mediating External Influences on Post World War II Western Europe, 1945-1973 - H-Soz-u-Kult: "This workshop will focus on the role of migrants as mediating agents and cultural translators in social transformations and exchanges in postwar Western Europe. European immigrants and émigrés to the United States, for example, played a vital role in building networks between European and American institutions after the war. These émigrés frequently acted as experts, analysts, and envoys for American government organizations in the context of postwar reconstruction and Cold War public diplomacy."

USAID and State Department Foreign Service Scholarships - Info Sessions - University of Maryland, Department of Government and Politics: "FOR JUNIORS: PICKERING UNDERGRADUATE FOREIGN AFFAIRS FELLOWSHIP [:] Who Can Apply: US Citizens – Juniors – GPA of 3.2 or higher required – All majors – Students with financial need, women, and members of minority groups historically underrepresented in the Foreign Service, are encouraged to apply. Description: The Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship program was created by the US State Department to attract outstanding students from all ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds who are interested in pursuing careers as Foreign Service officers.

Foreign Service officers staff U.S. embassies, consulates, and missions worldwide and also serve in Washington, D.C. Their responsibilities include policy analysis, formulation, and execution; management of resources; the provision of services to Americans in need; implementation of U.S. immigration and nationality law; trade promotion and business facilitation; public diplomacy; and representation of U.S. interests. The Pickering Fellowship program seeks to recruit talented juniors majoring in fields relevant to international affairs, political and economic analysis, administration, management, and science policy. Each successful candidate is obligated to a minimum of three years of service in an appointment as a Foreign Service officer. Application Deadline: February 7, 2013" Image from

Texas Conference for Women: Best Ideas and Words of Wisdom - "One week ago today I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Texas Conference for Women. Being in the presence of 5,000 other women was a powerful experience! This conference will definitely become an annual tradition for me.

Ladies, I hope you'll join me next year. Here are the best ideas I took away from the conference: Impactful words from Charlotte Beers, former advertising CEO and Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, author of I'd Rather Be in Charge: 'All things being equal, I'd rather be in charge.' 'Learn how to be an artful communicator. Speak with clarity from the center of yourself.' 'Practice leadership every single day.' 'No one EVER leads without learning how to communicate.'" Image from entry


Why Pro-War Propaganda on Afghanistan Still Works - John Glaser, The propaganda effort on Afghanistan has been going on for more than a decade now, and the fact that 53 percent of Americans think it's going “not too well” or “not at all well” means perhaps the batteries are running out. But it still manages to keep sizable minorities from opposing it and to keep virtually the entire American public passive, docile, and disinterested.

UPDATE 1-Russia's election Magician pans "undemocratic" US vote * Russian officials dislike U.S. "preaching" on democracy * Right activist calls comments "state propaganda" - Gabriela Baczynska and Timothy Heritage, Reuters: Tired of being lectured on democracy, the man known in Russia as "The Magician" for overseeing fraud-marred elections won by Vladimir Putin turned the tables on Wednesday by lambasting the U.S. electoral system. Using language usually reserved for U.S. and European criticism of Russia, Vladimir Churov said American voters will choose a president on Tuesday under an electoral system that is flawed and undemocratic. Churov, a Putin ally, may still have been smarting over U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's suggestion that Russia's parliamentary election last December was "neither free nor fair."

West's claims against Iran propaganda war: Russia - Chairman of the Russian Defense Ministry's Public Council says the West has launched a propaganda war against Iran and that the false allegations over Tehran’s nuclear energy program are part of that war.

Igor Korotchenko, who is also editor-in-chief of the Russian National Defense magazine made the comments in an interview with the Voice of Russia radio channel on Tuesday. Image, evidently of Korotchenko, from article

Seeds of Chinese Liberalization, Made in America: Studying in the U.S., then going home by the hundreds of thousands bearing Western ideas - Fred Zilian, Wall Street Journal: Right here in our cozy, conservative boarding school in New England, we are unconsciously and with no malicious intent sowing the seeds of revolution in China. Chinese students coming to the United States for secondary and undergraduate education are learning—through their formal education in American classrooms and through osmosis at corner coffee shops—liberal political ideas and critical-thinking skills that may in the long run help to destabilize the Chinese political system. These students, who will soon be part of the next generation of adults in China, could prove in the long run a more insidious force to the Chinese Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army than the U.S. Seventh Fleet. See also.

Vietnam jails musicians for propaganda: A Vietnamese court jailed two musicians for spreading anti-state propaganda by writing songs critisizing the communist government - UPI: A Vietnamese court jailed two musicians for spreading anti-state propaganda by writing songs criticizing the communist government. After a 5-hour trial, a court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced Tran Vu Anh Binh, 37, to six years in jail and Vo Minh Tri, 34, was handed a 4-year prison sentence, the BBC reported. Both were arrested late last year. A particular area that concerned the court was the musicians' criticism of China's claim to island territories in the South China Sea and the Hanoi government's response to the claims, the BBC said.

The latest 'lost' film really is pure Hollywood propaganda - Scott Jordan Harris, American movies are often accused of being “pure Hollywood propaganda”. But, while individual films and filmmakers often have identifiable agendas, the idea that “Hollywood”, as a single entity, has any agenda besides keeping itself in business, and making that business as profitable as possible, is generally misguided.

A recently released relic from the 1920s, however, truly does deserve the label “pure Hollywood propaganda”. The film, apparently called Hollywood Snapshots, is a 13-minute silent that was designed to demonstrate that the Hollywood movie business was not the den of vice and scandal many in the US supposed it to be, but rather a deeply moral and completely benign all-American industry. Image from article

Propaganda Maps: Propaganda Maps Are Designed to Persuade - Juliet Jacobs, All maps are designed with a purpose; whether to aid in navigation, accompany a news article, or display data.

Some maps, however, are designed to be particularly persuasive. Like other forms of propaganda, cartographic propaganda attempts to mobilize viewers for a purpose. Geopolitical maps are the most explicit examples of cartographic propaganda, and throughout history have been utilized to garner support for various causes. Image, cited in article, from


"Virtually the entire meeting portion focused on our counterterrorism cooperation and Mali, and they agreed that we need to now work together to build on our existing strong U.S.-Algerian counterterrorism cooperation to

work together against the problems that are being exported from Mali and to help Bamako and ECOWAS with the AU and the UN support as well deal with the security threats inside of Mali.'

--A senior State Department Official; cited in; image from

Monday, October 29, 2012

October 28-29

"My doctors were all dead."

--Ninety-seven-year-old cancer survivor Stamatis Moraitis, a native of the Greek island of Ikaria, disclosing why his American doctors, who gave him six months to live when he was in his 60s, could not explain why he was still among the living for so long after he returned to his birthplace; cited in Dan Buettner, "The Island Where People Forget to Die," New York Times; via WK on Facebook; Moraitis image from article


In Vietnam, US relies on pirate site to network - George Lucas Laura Schlessinger, "It’s a wildly popular website laden with unlicensed songs and Hollywood movies, a prime exhibit of the digital piracy that is strangling the music industry in Asia and eroding legitimate online sales around the world. But a few clicks inside the free-to-download bonanza that has pushed Vietnam’s into the globe’s top 550 websites reveals a surprising presence: the American government, which maintains a bustling social media account on the site. Washington is a vocal proponent of intellectual property rights in Vietnam as it is around the world, and a site like Zing would be shut down in the United States. But with space with for public diplomacy limited in Communist Vietnam, the embassy’s uses its 'Zingme' account to reach out to young people in Vietnam as it seeks to build closer ties with its former enemy. The embassy presence shows just how mainstream pirate sites have become in Vietnam, where the government does nothing to stop them operating.

But it also raises questions whether Washington is legitimizing a renowned pirate site that record labels, singers and industry groups say ignores requests that it take down infringing material. Those have become pressing since Coca-Cola and Samsung pulled their advertising from the site earlier this month because of piracy concerns following questions by The Associated Press. The move challenged Zing’s business model and was praised by recording industry groups. Samsung said last week it was also closing its Zingme account for the same reason. The embassy said it recognized the concerns for U.S. copyright interests posed by Zing but that it believed that 'contact with users of this website' could reduce traffic or infringing activity on it. The mission sometimes uses its Zingme page to post about copyright infringement." Image from

Read more: State Department finds success using eDiplomacy for knowledge management, says report - Molly Bernhart Walker, The State Department allocates the bulk of its eDiplomacy resources toward public diplomacy, Internet freedom and knowledge management, but gains the most success with information technology-enabled knowledge management, according to a report (.pdf) published Oct. 25 by the Brookings Institution. 'In the area of knowledge management, foreign ministries have a lot to learn from State,' writes report author Fergus Hanson, a nonresident fellow in Brookings' Foreign Policy program. With more constraints on government resources and increasing public demand for information, 'the ability to mobilize human and informational resources efficiently will only increase in importance,' he adds."

Happy Birthday to the Secretary of State! - "As a J-1 designated Visa Sponsor, we would like to wish our fearless leader from the Department of State a wonderful and Happy Birthday! CCI Greenheart’s home offices are located in Chicago, the hometown of our Secretary of State – Hillary Clinton. During her term as Secretary of State, Secretary Clinton has been a constant advocate for public diplomacy throughout the world. As the national election come to head, we want to celebrate one of the country’s

leading and inspiring ladies for all the work she has done to further cultural understanding and world peace. If you are unfamiliar with Secretary Clinton’s work here and abroad, we invite you to visit the Department of State’s website. Hillary Clinton’s actions prove that through mutual understanding; the world can profit and revel in eachother’s prosperity. As a cultural exchange organization, we strive to do this every day, and we hope you do too!" Image from

Telling the Afghanistan story to the Americans - Mahtab Farid, U.S. Public Diplomacy in Afghanistan: "Here at home in the United States, President Obama announced the U.S. forces will pull out of Afghanistan by 2014. During the U.S. presidential and vice presidential debates, Afghanistan was an important point of discussion. With high unemployment rate in the U.S., Americans want to know whether U.S. needs to be in Afghanistan and what happens after we leave.

So many questions and not enough answers or not enough clear answers or portrayal of a real picture in that country. Recently I had a chance to discuss the American story in Afghanistan on two panels." Image from article, with caption: Staff sgt Ashlee Lolkus and Mahtab Farid in Panshir, Afghanistan

In the Middle East, a Tipping Point for U.S. Public Diplomacy - Philip Seib - PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "America’s public diplomats face the formidable challenge of undercutting radicals’ support by helping improve the lives of the vast majority of Arabs."

Raha TV, from London studios, now "promoting democracy and freedom" in Iran - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: [Elliott comment:] "With many commentators calling for US broadcasts to Iran to be more supportive of the opposition and to call for the overthrow of the regime, and claiming that VOA PNN is pro-regime, I have thought that eventually the United States would develop two television channels to Iran. One would be the advocated opposition station, the other the existing VOA PNN. The people of Iran could then decide, in the spirit of free-market competition, if they prefer anti-regime propaganda or a straightforward treatment of the news.

Now Raha TV removes the need for such an opposition channel, and does so at no apparent cost to the US taxpayers. Nevertheless, the one thing that US international broadcasting does more consistently than anything else is to duplicate already-existing broadcasting efforts. So we might indeed, eventually, see a US government funded channel to compete both with Raha TV and VOA PNN. Image from entry

Trafficking Anti-Iranian Propaganda - Stephen Lendman, "American media scoundrels honed it to an art form. Britain's BBC and commercial media regularly feature it. So does a newly licensed anti-Iranian TV channel. More on Raha TV below. ... On October 25, Russia Today ( headlined 'EU hypocrisy? Anti-Tehran channel launches in London amid ban on Iranian state TV,' saying: Britain's latest propaganda channel 'comes just over a week after 19 state-run Iranian TV and radio stations were banned in the EU.' Raha's founder, Amir Hossein Jahanshahi, is an Iran expat billionaire businessman. He's a venture capitalist and property developer. He accumulated much of his wealth in Spain and France. He likely got it the old-fashioned way. Behind every fortune is a great crime."

Intelsat joins Eutelsat in removing Iranian TV channels - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Radio Liberty-in-Exile protest in Moscow planned for Monday - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "Radio Liberty-in-Exile group of fired Radio Liberty journalists is planning a protest in Moscow during a panel discussion on Monday by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty president Steven Korn, his deputy Julia Ragona and their new Russian Service director Masha Gessen. ... Korn

has accused the fired Radio Liberty staffers, some of the best known independent Russian journalists and new media professionals, of being resistant to change, stuck in the 1980s, and incapable of using digital media. Radio Liberty-in-Exile plans to stream its protests live." Image from entry, with caption: BBG Interim Presiding Governor Michael Lynton is CEO, Sony Corporation of America and Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Radio-Svoboda-in-exile [image] - Ted Lipien in Facebook.

Image: Mikhail Sokolov, Radio Liberty-in-Exile, with Aleksander Melman

The Role of the Arts in International Relations - "The Initiative for Russian Culture (IRC) - a joint initiative between the History department at the American University and the Russian Embassy in the US - held its (by now annual) grand event at the Library of Congress on Thursday, October 25. I had mentioned the Initiative on this blog last April, when they put together an interesting conference on 'Overcoming Cold War Stereotypes'. The monthly Russian movie screenings at the Embassy have resumed, as well, with 'The Messenger Boy' kicking off this academic year. The event last Thursday - titled 'The Role of the Arts in International Relations' - was of slightly different nature, however. It involved a lavish reception in the main hall of the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, live performances by the Brass Ensemble of the Mariinsky Theater and amazing pianist Denis Matsuev, presentations on the role of culture and public diplomacy in international affairs by John Beyrle (former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow) and Valery Gergiev (General Director of the Mariinsky Theater and Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra), and - perhaps most impressive - a wonderful live ice skating performance, right there, inside the Jefferson Building.

It was all somewhat overwhelming... I am a strong believer in that public diplomacy - especially cultural diplomacy - are and should be 'leaps of faith', in that they must be carried out and invested in despite their immediate results, that might or might not be 'measured'. However, there is always a difference between a wise and an unwise investment. And, when it comes down to this, it helps to consider concepts such as opportunity cost and context. Russia has come to increasingly value the importance of public diplomacy and has been trying to restart its 'culture charm offensive', especially in the US, over the past few years. Events like these are impressive and strong on the 'wow' factor. How necessarily or useful are they, however, especially given the ever-present 'budgetary constraints' when it comes to true public diplomacy? In terms of wider impact: the event didn't even get coverage by any of the media in the area. Clearly, that wasn't all that well-planned, and effectively limited the potential 'target audience' to only those who were actually there." Image from article

PMW material in Israel's public diplomacy - "The government of Israel recently released its "Index of Palestinian Incitement" as a PowerPoint presentation. Virtually all of the examples in the government report were from Palestinian Media Watch's research. Click to see PMW's English language translation of the government index. PMW has included the links to the original PMW reports and documentation, which did not appear in the government's Hebrew report. PMW material documenting PA terror glorification, promotion of hatred and denial of Israel's right to exist, is being used not only by the Israeli government but by MPs and governments worldwide to document, expose and fight these critical impediments to peace."

Hollow Pursuaders [sic] - Joshua Midgett, Applied Public Diplomacy Group 3 Blog: "[T]he challenge that has been present since week 2 of this class to me, and likely long before this to the rest of the Public Diplomacy world: How does one measure who has 'soft power' and how much do they have?"

How to hard sell China's soft power - Peng Kan, China Daily: South Korea unleashed the "Korean Wave" in Asia in the 1990s, by exporting and promoting its cultural products such as TV dramas, films and music. In China, millions of youngsters have become fans of Korean pop stars. And now the "Korean Wave" has spread beyond Asia - South Korean TV soap operas are a big hit with people in Egypt, Turkey and East European countries. All this has increased the economic value of South Korean cultural products to $5 billion a year. China, too, has made it a strategy to improve its soft power. Chinese leaders have stressed many times that since cultural exchanges are much easier in today's world, the country that occupies the cultural commanding height and possesses strong soft power will win the initiative in global competition.

To spread and establish its soft power, China has held several international events such as Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and Shanghai 2010 World Expo. Confucius Institutes, aimed at promoting Chinese language and culture, have been established in more than 350 colleges in over 100 countries across the world. China's official news agency, Xinhua, has set up more than 150 branches overseas, and intends to increase the number to 200. China's national TV channel, CCTV, too, has established several broadcasting centers around the world. Though China is trying to make its language and message be heard across the world to overcome its disadvantageous position in global communications, the exports of its cultural products are far from satisfactory. It is still far from making a product like Gangnam Style. China does export a large amount of cultural products every year, but few of them become popular abroad. Image from article

The Mystery of Macedonia’s Islamic Manuscripts: Interview with Mesut IdrizOctober 2 - "Prof. Dr. Mesut Idriz ... is also a regular Visiting Professor

at the International Summer School (PISU) of Prishtina University, Kosovo, teaching a special course on 'Public Diplomacy in the Balkans.'” Uncaptioned image form article


Pentagon inspector starts criminal probe of contractor - Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today: The military's top propaganda contractor in Afghanistan is under federal criminal investigation for its possible role in smear campaign against USA TODAY, according to a letter from the Pentagon's Inspector General.

The Defense Criminal Investigative Service has an ongoing investigation of Leonie Industries. That probe followed a USA TODAY story in February that found the owners of the company had failed to pay $4 million in taxes on time. Image from

Reconsidering Sam Bacile’s Agitation Propaganda – Analysis - Brett Daniel Shehadey, A closer look at the movie Innocence of Muslims had all of the classic signs of a black propaganda operation. Consider the features and its making: Non-existent movie producer “Sam Bacile”; Deceitful casting calls under false titles like Desert Warrior; False plots and altered scripts; Post-production voice-overs; Multiple post-production title releases like The Innocence of Bin Laden or The Real Life of Muhammad; Strategic placement; False flag attempt with “American” name tag as first source; Conspiracy to incite Islamic-US conflict. Disinformation to blame Israel and shelter anti-Islamic activists. The 13-minute trailer was released by an unidentifiable source that mocks the Prophet Mohammed and everything Muslim.

The film actually has two minor objectives that support its larger strategy: demonstrating that Muslims hate Americans, and demonstrating that Islam is a religion of violence. The project was specifically designed to incite Muslim anger by portraying Islam as a violent and intolerant religion. This film was planned by anti-Islamic activists, most likely Coptic dissidents and American fundamentalist Christians. The primary objective is to bring the United States into direct confrontation with Islam and its followers. The videos exist to provoke Muslims and purportedly to “inform” the Western world of the greater “Islamic” threat. Image from article, with caption: Muslims praying

Not Propaganda? Obama’s the Star of New Cable Film on Bin Laden - Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary: The decision of the National Geographic Channel to air a film about the successful hunt for Osama bin Laden just two days before Election Day had already generated controversy. But the promotional materials released to the press this week confirm the suspicion that it is what even the New York Times was prepared to call a “political stunt.” The movie, “Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden,” is being promoted by Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood mogul as well as a major bundler for President Obama. See also.

‘Seal Team 6’ Director: My Movie Isn’t Propaganda! - John Stockwell, Daily Beast: John Stockwell, whose film recounts the dramatic behind-the-scenes decisions behind the raid on Osama bin Laden—and airs just two days before the election—fights back against criticism that President Obama was given a ‘starring role’ to juice up his chances at reelection.


Via RB on Facebook


Via NR on Facebook, with caption: "Beautiful Lady"

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October 26-27

"'Therefore' is a word the poet must not know."

--André Gide; Gide image from


Diplomacy in a Time of Scarcity - American Academy of Diplomacy and Stimson (October 2012). Section on Public Diplomacy: pp. 29-30


Public Diplomacy Speakers Series [Josef Korbel School of International Studies] - Amb. Cameron Munter, "Ambassador Cameron Munter was the most recent ambassador to Pakistan from the United States. Posted during a time of high tensions, controversial actions taken by both sides and an ever-increasing vitriol in both American and Pakistani political circles, Islamabad is not a post many would envy. Amb. Munter takes some time to talk about outreach, religion and understanding in Pakistan."


US Embassy Laos: Ambassador Stewart Gets a Lesson in Breakdancing - DiploPundit. See also.

Kosovo Video: Music video by Rita Ora performing Shine Ya Light - YouTube [Comment by Meliza Haradinaj on Twitter: ‏"Voluntary Public Diplomacy at its best! Thank You Rita"]

Haradinaj image from


Baked in and Wired: eDiplomacy @ State - Fergus Hanson, "The adaptation ... and integration of new technologies into diplomacy is one of the biggest challenges foreign ministries—and corporations—have faced in many years. And it has led to a string of attempts to describe the change afoot. The State Department calls it 21st Century Statecraft; the UK Foreign Office uses the term Digital Diplomacy; while the Canadians refer to it as Open Policy. This paper [available at] refers to it as 'ediplomacy' and uses a slightly amended definition previously proposed by the author. It defines ediplomacy as: the use of the internet and new Information Communications Technologies

to help carry out diplomatic objectives. At the vanguard of this adaptation is the U.S. State Department. The first paper in this series, Revolution@State, found over 150 people employed in 25 separate ediplomacy nodes covering eight different work areas. At U.S. missions abroad, another 900 staff used ediplomacy tools to some extent. This paper is focused on just three of those eight areas where State is currently allocating the bulk of its ediplomacy resources: public diplomacy, internet freedom and knowledge management." Image from. See also: (1) (2).

The Chief Diplomat: Obama or Romney? An Analysis of the use of Collaborative Language by the Presidential Hopefuls - Cassaundra R. Leier, posted by Miss Casey, Dissertation Cupcake: "In an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, maintaining and strengthening international relationships is critical to the future of America. The tragedy of the global financial crisis and countless international conflict sharply remind us that a nation’s economic success and homeland security is dependent upon fostering collaborative relationships with other countries. The President of the United States serves an important role as the leader of the country’s public diplomacy mission. Public diplomacy is

the nation’s effort to promote interests by maintaining and strengthening relationships between the United States and citizens of the rest of the world . ... The 3rd and final Presidential debate on foreign policy provided an ideal platform with which to compare the two presidential hopefuls on their ability to represent America as our Chief public diplomat. ... [T]he environment was absent from the 90-minute discussion of our world politics. Discussion of the environment would have been a useful discussion given the nature of public diplomacy, the world has a common interest is protecting the environment. ... Public diplomacy is certainly not the President’s job alone, nor is it restricted to a 90-minute time block. In fact, public diplomacy should be continuously enacted by a variety all government leaders and citizens of the United States. However the President and his voice serve as the voice of America, and echoes to far reaching corners of the world. The person we elect to be chief diplomat should communicate a narrative that reflects the voices of all Americans. While the 3rd presidential debate afforded the candidates to voice their foreign policy views and objectives, there is certainly no guarantee on the delivery of such promises. One guarantee is that Presidential rhetoric is heard loudly by foreign nations. Image from blog

The Marine Corps and the Public Diplomacy of Deeds - "Undersecretary of Public Diplomacy during the Bush Administration, Karen Hughes ... often talked about the 'diplomacy of deeds,' which was a subtle way of saying that our actions speak louder than our words – that policy is more important than posturing. Working in public diplomacy, I can attest to the importance of getting the words right. Getting words wrong can get you a whole lot of trouble.

As my former colleague at NATO Jamie Shea once said, 'A media campaign will not win you a war. But a bad media campaign can and will lose you a war.' Having been the inestimable voice of the Alliance during the Kosovo conflict, he knew what he was talking about. ... [T]here is always a need to communicate [US military humanitarian] actions. ... Those actions count, too, and are worth talking about. The public diplomacy of deeds, sometimes, still requires public diplomacy." Image from

Radio Liberty in Exile getting ready for a big fight with RFE/RL executives Korn and Ragona - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch: "Dozens of former Radio Liberty journalists fired by American managers who used guards and other coercive measures are getting ready to confront Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty president Steven Korn and his deputy Julia Ragona during their planned visit to Moscow early next week.

Journalists formed a group, Radio Liberty-in-Exile (Radio Svoboda-in-Exile), which is planning a number of protests and other events in Moscow to coincide with Korn’s and Ragona’s visit, sources told BBG Watch." Image from entry

The Soviet violinist who listened to VOA jazz in China in 1957 - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Public Diplomacy and its role in the EU's external relations - Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission, "We Europeans believe that public diplomacy plays a special role in the external relations of the European Union. One of the fundamental strengths of the transatlantic alliance is that the EU and the USA not only share a common set of basic values – universal values - but also broadly similar foreign policy objectives. However, the diplomatic and other resources we respectively deploy, and the methods we use, can be very different and this is reflected in our approaches to public diplomacy. Public diplomacy as a concept is not new, as many commentators constantly remind us. What is new is that despite residual scepticism by many 'classical' diplomats, public diplomacy is now broadly accepted as an essential arm of external relations. It is evolving rapidly in a world where the communication technology revolution has completely transformed how information is transmitted and who has access to it. The real technological leap is that one individual today can do mass communication. Just think of the importance of blogs. And the use 'You tube' in your Presidential elections. Diplomacy can no longer afford to be a question of 'sending good men and women abroad to lie for their country' as the old joke had it.

In managing our external relations abroad we of course still concentrate heavily on identifying and working with key decision makers who can influence our bilateral relations. As I see it communication is one of the important tools for building and sustaining democracy. Increasingly diplomacy can only be effective if it reaches out much more widely. The concept of 'key decision makers,' especially on some of the most urgent global issues like climate change, democracy and human rights, and economic development, is no longer a question of an elite in smoke filled rooms; we need to know and understand a much wider and widely dispersed network of individual and groups, who, in turn, need to know and understand more about us. This is not an exercise in 'national branding'; it is not 'propaganda', because we know that this does not work. It is the recognition of a fundamental shift, and especially so in relatively open societies, of how power, influence and decision-making has spread, and how complex it has become. ... The EU famously believes in multilateralism and 'soft' power, and this is strongly reflected in the nature and conduct of many of its public diplomacy dialogues on such issues as the environment, energy efficiency, global warming, development cooperation, free trade, democratization and human rights. All of these are directly linked to defined EU policy objectives, and all require a broad measure of global support - official and popular - to succeed. But the EU model is not a soft option because it always involves patience, difficult compromises, and often generous offers of EU funding as well; nor can it be the only option. The EU can be surprisingly robust on certain issues even in its use of public diplomacy – and our strong and pro-active condemnation of the death penalty is a case in point. But slowly and surely, the EU is building up the capacity, through the Foreign Security Policy, to play a greater role in pursuing external policy objectives through “hard” power when all other options fail." Image from

Ponta would attend the EU summit in November with Basescu’s clearance - "Presidential adviser Cristian Diaconescu explained in a blog article on Monday that he was the author of the public diplomacy strategy designed to restore Romania’s image abroad . ... Diaconescu explained to ‘Gandul’ online daily that the Office for Public Diplomacy proposed to be set up ... was an office with 4-5 workers who would have worked in coordination with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Justice and Interior Ministry, with Labour attachés and with the ‘state-owned’ press in Romania."

Soft Power, Smart Power Or Public Diplomacy? Australia Fumbles - Alison Broinowski, "As traditional diplomacy is complemented by emerging concepts such as public diplomacy, soft power and more recently ‘smart power,’ Australia is grappling with how best to shape and alter perceptions of the country and extend its influence . ... Australia’s

foreign policy establishment seems unclear about whether to opt for European-style collaborative public diplomacy or US-style persuasive soft power, but it is unlikely to attempt interventionist, manipulative smart power techniques. For Australia, other initiatives are more likely to work: it could host an Asian regional Institute for Public Diplomacy, for example, and establish a free-standing Australia Foundation to present a more coherent, interesting narrative to the world." Image from

Smoking guns - John Worne, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "A recent international study by the British Council and The Student Room shows that students worldwide believe the UK is the safest place in the world to study – and a big factor in this is in the UK we don’t carry guns."

Public Diplomacy [course offering] – DiploFoundation [Malta]: “Public diplomacy is a hot topic today, yet only a decade ago, it was a very specialised term. There is a new transparency in the interactions between governments and countries in the international system, influenced by such factors as the democratisation of diplomacy, globalisation, the resurgence of methods of bilateral, regional and multilateral diplomacy, and the spotlight on external and internal issues.

With more public interest in foreign affairs than ever before, ordinary people are demanding open diplomacy. Governments are obliged to respond with public information about the spending of the funds they receive and the results that they achieve. This course covers the goals and methods of public diplomacy, outlining what it can and cannot do, with case studies.” Image from

Public Diplomacy in Action! (Lancaster / Reading) - "~ High School Foreign Exchange Program Seeks Local Coordinators in PA. Represent the United States and introduce foreign exchange students to your town! Make a difference in the lives of young people from around the world, and make their dream of s [...]"


Psy-ops: Tuning the Afghans into radio - Caroline Wyatt, BBC News: The world of "psy-ops" has traditionally been a secretive one. Some think of it as propaganda, though it's a description that today's practitioners in the British military reject. But for the first time, the veil is being lifted a little, as 15 (UK) Psy Ops Group are awarded the Firmim Sword of Peace. It is being given to them for their work over the past six years in creating seven local radio stations across Helmand, which aim to promote civil society

in an area of Afghanistan where more than 80% cannot read or write. The station is hugely varied, rather like a mixture between BBC Radio 1 and Radio 4, with pop music, phone-ins, discussions and debates. "Psy-ops is all about communicating with people around and on the battlefield, who ordinarily might not hear what's going on," says the unit's commanding officer, Commander Steve Tatham. Image from article, with caption: Staring at goats has never been a technique used by the UK military.

What the U.S. risks by relying on drones - Kurt Volker, Washington Post: There are four principal issues with excessive reliance on drones. The first is moral. More people have been killed in U.S. drone attacks than were ever incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. The second is consequences. U.S. reliance on drone strikes allows our opponents to cast our country as a distant, high-tech, amoral purveyor of death. It builds resentment, facilitates terrorist recruitment and alienates those we should seek to inspire.

Third, our monopoly on drone warfare will not last. Others, from European allies to Russia, China and Iran, are acquiring and beginning to use drones for surveillance — eventually, they will use them for killing as well. Then there is the question of national identity: What do we want to be as a nation? A country with a permanent kill list? We must be careful not to adopt rote formulas for restricting drone use. But we also must avoid writing blank checks. Image from, with caption: A model of an unmanned flying vehicle (UAV) protesting the use of drones

The Islamist Threat Isn't Going Away: America's foreign policy hasn't improved its image in the Arab world - Michael J. Totten, Wall Street Journal: Anti-Americanism has been a default political position in the Arab world for decades. Radical Islam is the principal vehicle through which it's expressed at the moment, but anti-Americanism specifically, and anti-Western "imperialism" generally, likewise lie at the molten core of secular Arab nationalism of every variety. The Islamists hate the U.S. because it's liberal and decadent. (The riots in September over a ludicrous Internet video ought to make that abundantly clear.) And both Islamists and secularists hate the U.S. because it's a superpower.

Trying to buy peace with Syria’s tyrant - Natan Sharansky, Washington Post: Israelis, no less than other democratic peoples, are tempted by the illusion that lasting peace can be purchased by making concessions to tyrants who also happen to be implacable enemies.

Envoy: Parliamentary Visits to Tehran to Defuse West's Anti-Iran Propaganda - Iranian Envoy to Berlin Ali Reza Sheikh Attar

said parliamentary visits to Iran, such as the Sunday trip by a German parliamentary delegation, defuse the negative propaganda against Iran in the West. Image from article

When is a cyberattack an act of war? - Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post: The United States and the world may be moving toward a greater strategic use of cyberweapons to persuade adversaries to change their behavior. This can be good, if it averts war. On the other hand, it could cause other nations to feel vulnerable. Some experts foresee a kind of cyber arms race as nations try to catch up.

UN Seeking Global Internet Surveillance for Terror, Propaganda - Alex Newman, New American: The United Nations and a broad coalition of its totalitarian-minded member governments are increasingly demanding that a global regulatory regime be imposed over the Internet, with supposed concerns about “terrorism” becoming just the most recent argument advanced to support the controversial scheme. In a massive report released this week, the UN claimed a planetary agreement on surveillance, data retention, and more would be needed for “terror” purposes.  Of course, the latest round of UN scheming drew swift criticism from Internet-freedom advocates.

But as the effort by governments to seize control over the World Wide Web gains traction, activists from across the political spectrum argue that the Internet should remain free and unregulated in the hands of citizens and the private sector — certainly not under the purview of a scandal-plagued international organization composed largely of dictatorial regimes. Image from

Benghazi: Where the hell were the Marines? Yo! Half our embassies have no Marines - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: The Marine guards are currently in 148 locations which is about half the number of our current overseas posts (Marine spokesman at the Pentagon put the number at 130 locations).

China propaganda post likely to go to a conservative Hu loyalist - Benjamin Kang Lim and Ben Blanchard, : * Sichuan party boss Liu Qibao front-runner for key propaganda post * Liu media savvy, but loyal to party and unlikely to drastically relax controls * Liu rose up through Youth League, powerbase of President Hu Jintao


Via OS on Facebook