Friday, December 14, 2012

December 13-14

"America makes prodigious mistakes, America has colossal faults, but one thing cannot be denied: America is always on the move. She may be going to Hell, of course, but at least she isn't standing still."

--e. e. cummings; cummings image from


A) Eudora Welty and Cleanth Brooks in Jackson - Telling the Truth Obliquely: Welty and Brooks discuss the differences in truth between the propaganda novel and the work of literary art. The difference, they agree, is that--rephrasing Emily Dickinson--writers should tell the truth obliquely, with a slant. Via

B) Bowling Green - The Dellas, sponsored by American Voices, perform in Bishtek

C) North Korea Rocket Launch Video Is a Display of Propaganda -


State Department Lost in Cyberspace Over New Social Media - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: "I have seen a draft copy of the new rules for diplomats’ social media regulation. Here’s a diagram from that draft. Please take a look and decide for yourself whether State’s new rules will make the organization more open, faster and social media-centric:

As for the question of State taking five days for blog posts and two days to review diplo-Tweets, here is the relevant section of the draft rules:

Your Opinion Needed for the State Department - Helle Dale, "The State Department wants your opinion. No, not on weighty matters like the Arab Spring/Winter, relations with Russia, the state of NATO, or Chinese free-trade violations. The pressing question of the day is whether it should rename its blog DipNote. To tell the truth, the options are not exactly mind-blowing, a reflection of State’s uneasy struggle to enter the flow of 21st-century communication, and a bit of a waste of time. ... Nothing wrong with engagement, but do all those diplomats not have anything better to do than thinking up blog names? In other news, the State Department is grappling with procedures for public diplomacy in the world of instant communication. Proposed new guidelines for approval of blogs, tweets, and other written communication are in the works, an apparent effort to tighten control. ... The bottom line is this: Twitter and Facebook diplomacy cannot substitute for a serious global agenda, and may even be viewed as the Internet equivalent of fiddling while traditional U.S. diplomacy burns."

Kandahar Regional Speaker Program - "The synopsis for this grant opportunity is detailed below, following this paragraph. This synopsis contains all of the updates to this document that have been posted as of 12/11/2012 . If updates have been made to the opportunity synopsis, update information is provided below the synopsis. ... Category Explanation: Public Diplomacy programs focusing on civil society, religious tolerance, the role of religion in today’s world and religious leaders’ involvement in societal betterment. Expected Number of Awards: 1 Estimated Total Program Funding: $300,000 ... Description [:] PAS Kabul invites all Afghan NGO/PVO organizations with direct experience in recruitment, outreach and programming, and a proven track record of success implementing projects in Afghanistan to submit a proposal to create and operate a regional speaker program for Kandahar, Afghanistan, for a six-month period with the potential of extending to one year. During this six-month period, the chosen organization will arrange for speakers from throughout the Muslim world to speak at multiple locations throughout ‘Loya Kandahar’ (including Kandahar, Helmand, Zabul and Uruzgan). The program would have a minimum of two speakers per month who would address audiences at pre-determined public venues. The speaker series should have the ability to engage local Afghan populations on issues revolving around civil society, religious tolerance, the role of religion in today’s world and religious leaders’ involvement in societal betterment."

American Voices’ Executive Director John Ferguson - Stephanie N. Stallings, Arts Diplomacy Network:  "[I]n recent years at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, 'engaging with the world' has replaced the old USIA motto 'telling America’s story to the world.' American Voices, an organization

that has engaged in this kind of work since 1993, is at the forefront of this movement. It also now administers the ECA’s American Music Abroad program. American Voices was selected by the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy as a 'Top Ten Best Practices Organization.' AV Founder and Executive Director John Ferguson recently answered some of my more burning questions regarding the nonprofit’s arts-based cultural diplomacy work abroad. ... SS: In your experience as a practitioner, how has current cultural diplomacy changed since the end of the USIA, or since the early 2000s? JF: It has gone from what I call a Cold-War model to a Post 9/11 model. Before, much–but not all–of such programs focused on bringing a group in for one-off performances and workshops in a touring setting. The presentations and the interactions were more formal and less time was allowed for the people-to-people element. For the past 10 years or so, I like to think that we have been important in helping shape the shift to a new model that is more interactive and based on longer-term programs with follow up. Cases in point are our Jazz BridgesHiplomacy and YES Academy programs."

In the Dush [December 11] - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "So here we [Rockower and the American Voices spsonsored Dellas bluegrass group touring Central Asia] are in Dushanbe. ... We went out to dinner with our embassy hosts. The most interesting thing from dinner was the Tajik lemon tea, which was sweet and tart. ... The embassy section invited us out for lunch, and we had the national dish of Tajikistan: qurotob." Below image from

Good Morning Kyrgyzstan! [December 9] - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "We had an early morning for the Dellas to be on an early morning tv show, 'Good Morning!' The girls gals had a fun interplay with the hosts. At one point, the male host mentioned that since the Dellas were all girls of the feminine variety, and they were going to be collaborating with a 5-girl fenale Kyrgyz folk troupe (and that US Ambassador was female), it seemed that the US-Kyrgyz relationship was in the hands of women. The female host quickly retorted that it sounded like it was in good hands then. Everyone had a bit of a chuckle. We dropped off some laundry and had a little break before heading over to the Bishkek College of Music, to do a class at the American Music Center. The place was cool, it had all sorts of old American pics of musicians and cds of jazz legends and other American music. After the girls venusites did a bit of felt shopping, for which Kyrgyz is famous, before we headed over to the American Corner in Bishkek. I am becoming a huge fan of the American Corners, and I am going to write more about it in depth later. This one was in the Bishkek library, and was huge. There were pics on the wall of various American cities and scenes of life. There were all sorts of book, as well as VHS and DVD movies, audio books, Toefl/GMAT/SAT study guides. There were even board games, and they let us borrow Apples to Apples! The Amer[i]can Corner hosts talking clubs, various speaker programs. The Dellas introduced themselves and where they were from, and had a freewheeling session of music and Q and A about life in America and their music. I really like the way that the American Corners create space for cultural exchange. We had another early morning the next morning, for a tv show on Zamana, which was on Kyrgyz National TV. It was a lil chaotic, to the point that a microphone lady was still on the set when the segment started, and she had to sneak off while the camera was pointed at the host. But the interview went well, and the Dellas had a good rapport with the host. After, they had a radio interview on the national Kyrgyz radio, where they played a few songs and talked about bluegrass and their crazy trip. They also got to do some recordings in the radio center's phenomenal sound studio. They recorded some for the radio, then did some of their own songs for vid. ... They had one last performance at the Maevka House of Culture, a lil out of town. The show was a lot of fun, much because the PAO Christian helped get all the attendees up and dancing. 'Twas a lot of fun."

Ferunze [December 9] - "[W] e continued our drive on to Bishkek. ... [T]he Dellas had a program at the Krasnaya Rechka Orphanage. We drove about 40 minutes outside the city until we got to the orphanage. Apparently, US army folks stationed at the Manas Air Force base come out to the orphanage on a semi-weekly basis to play with the kids and help out with some general repairs and the like. We set up in a room for about 40-50 kids, many of whom had down's syndrome. The Dellas played, shared music and love with the kiddies. The whole thing was wonderful and poignant. ... We drove back into town, and stopped at a music boarding school. The Dellas played for the music students, who then reciprocated with some traditional dombra stomps and songs. After the music exchange, the Dellas met with their doppelgangers, a 5-girl Kyrgyz folk troupe named Ustad Shakirt, who they would be collaborating with them for their big concert at the Opera House. It was interesting, the girls all collaborated well, but there was definitely a different culture of music arrangement. The Kyrgyz folk troupe was much more managed, and waited for ques from their manager and were very hesitant to take any solos without prompting, while the Dellas are a lot more freewheeling. Cultural differences..." Dellas image from

The Denver of Central Asia [December 07] - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "At the Almaty Jazz School, we regained our strength over some coffee and tea and we were treated to a lovely jazz performance with from the only Jazz school in Central Asia. The school was a stirring reminder of how Jazz won the Cold War. The kids played a slew of Jazz numbers, then the Dellas gave a masterclass on bluegrass. The music students loved the show. During the Q&A, an adorable little blond boy of about 7 years or so told them how beautiful they were. I told him he could be my assistant and role with the band. He declined. Afterwards, the Dellas split off and gave mini-masterclasses on their respective instruments. ... After lunch, we had a session at the American Corner Almaty, which was in a nice library. ... After the show, we headed on to the airport and on to Astana, Kazakhstan’s frozen capital. Astana is among the coldest capitals in the world."

The City of Ice and Glass [December 7] - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "On Friday, we had a concert over at the Astana Hotel, which had a new performance center. The Dellas were performing that night with a traditional Kazakh music group named Kok Tukilier. They bonded immediately over the collaboration pieces and different instruments. It was fun to watch these musicians with no real common language communicate so quickly. Later, when the band was doing a final sound check before the show, the sound was acting up and giving huge feedback blasts. As the show started, it appeared that one of the speakers had blown. After a first song with poor song, the Dellas called out to the audience that they would need to go unplugged. Thankfully, the room hall was shaped to be like a yert, and was amenable to an acoustic show. ... And the Della Mae Unplugged concert was terrific. It gave a whole different feel to their show, with a bit more intimacy that the acoustic show offered. The preparations earlier with the Kazakh musicians all became a little unhinged since the sound system was turned off, but the two ensembles rolled with it too, and it all worked out very well. Being the wonderful cultural diplomatesses that they are, prior to leaving on tour the Dellas had requested if they could play at orphanages while on tour. Posts were pleased to accommodate, and on Saturday morning we headed over to an orphanage in Astana. It was one of the more poignant programs I have ever seen. The kids were adorable, ranging in age from 8 to 16. They were so appreciative to have Della Mae come play for them. And the most heart-warming moment was when the Dellas taught the kids to sing 'This little light of mine.' The kids sang along perfectly, it was hard not to get a little misty. After the show, the Dellas played with the kids, letting them strum their instruments and just have some affection. The kids showed the Dellas their dorm rooms and their art areas. We then drove to the Khan Shatyr Mall, a giant wrapped turquoise glass mall that resembles a giant tent. ... The Dellas were performing at the mall. Cultural Diplomacy, Teen Beat-style. Actually, this was apparently quite common at the Kazakh shopping mall. ... Later that evening, the Dellas performed in the middle of the mall.

There were some continued sound problems, but the Dellas got through it. There were probably about 350 or so people who congregated on various floors to watch the show. Meanwhile, kids started coming onto the floor to dance. One boy in particular was a star. He looked to be about six or so, and would slowly and rhythmically move his arms and legs before diving onto the floor to literally hump the floor. It took every ounce of fiber for the Dellas not to start cracking up. We later found out that the kid’s father was the manager of the entire mall. I guess if your dad runs the show, you can hump the mall. The Dellas finished their show and were joined by the Kazakh band from the night prior. The mall erupted when they did the traditional Kazakh song 'Illigay' and scores of people were singing along. After their show, the folk group performed as well. After the show and the requisite rock star mob of pictures, we went out with the musicians for dinner at a local Kazakh restaurant. ... The following day we flew back to Almaty for an afternoon off. ... We went with Adam into the music university, into the luthier shop of a master and his apprentices. ...[T]he girls played on the beautiful instruments." Image from

Music hath charms ... but we don't use it (updated) - Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy: "A thought struck me as I was reading the obits of jazz legend Dave Brubeck, who passed away yesterday at the age of 92.  Several accounts highlighted Brubeck's role as a cultural ambassador, through his participation in various goodwill tours sponsored by the U.S. State Department. A number of other prominent jazz artists -- including luminaries like Louis Armstrong -- were featured in these tours, which were intended to show off the appealing sides of American culture in the context of the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union. This was a Bambi-meets-Godzilla competition, btw, with the Soviets in the role of Bambi.

I like Shostakovich and respect the Bolshoi, but Soviet mass culture was outmatched when pitted against the likes of Satchmo. But here's my question: why isn't the United States doing similar things today? The State Department still sponsors tours by U.S. artists -- go here for a bit more information -- but you hardly ever hear about them and it's not like we're sending 'A-list' musicians out to display the vibrancy of American cultural life. Celebrities and musicians are more likely to do good will tours to entertain U.S. troops in places like Iraq, but the sort of tours that Brubeck and others did in the 1950s and 1960s seem to have become a minor endeavor at best. The problem, I suspect, isn't a lack of interest in cultural diplomacy or even lack of funding. Instead, I think this is an consequence of globalization. Today, someone in Senegal or Indonesia who wants to hear American jazz (or hip-hop, or blues, or whatever) just needs an internet connection. ...  Update:  In response to this post, Hishaam Aidi of Columbia University and the Open Society Institute sent me this piece, which takes a critical view of the State Department's more recent efforts to use hip-hop artists as a form of cultural outreach." Brubeck image from article

Take Five remembers Dave Brubeck’s Legacy - "The contributors to the Take Five blog were all saddened to learn about the passing of legendary jazz pianist – and public diplomat – Dave Brubeck on Wednesday. Brubeck’s status as a giant and a pioneer in jazz is well known, and a large part of why he received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2009. (He also received an Honorary Degree from George Washington University – the home of this blog and the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication – in 2010.) His seminal album 'Time Out,' which includes the classic hit for which this blog is named, broke new ground in jazz composition while achieving the kind of popular success rarely seen by even the genre’s giants. It’s a beautiful, timeless album.

Less well known, however, is his major contributions to American public diplomacy. In the late 1950s the State Department sent his quartet on a world tour as part of their efforts to reach foreign publics through the power of jazz, which many consider to be not only the greatest American music genre, but perhaps the country’s only truly indigenous one. He continued to lead tours of 'jazz ambassadors' throughout his life, and was awarded the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy in 2008 for his efforts." Brubeck image from article. See also.

New RFE/RL Russian director says news focus "was a mistake," and that the station will move to "analytical materials" - Kim Andrew Elliot reporting on International Broadcasting

How to Save Radio Liberty - Ariel Cohen and Helle C. Dale, Heritage Foundation: "Only by reinventing RL for the post–Cold War, 21st-century highly competitive media environment—and by actively pursuing an on-the-air broadcasting strategy—can the U.S. remain relevant in the increasingly oppressive media environment of Russia and post-Soviet states."

Russian and international media on Radio Liberty crisis, Dec. 13, 2012 - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch

Broadcasting Board of Governors – worst place to work in U.S. federal government - BBGWatcher, USG Broadcasts/BBG Watch

Israel Launches Public Diplomacy Department in Arabic - "Israel’s Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry has opened a Public Diplomacy Department in Arabic. A statement released by the Ministry states that the department 'will be responsible for conducting public diplomacy activities for the media and public opinion on a global level in general and among Arab countries and the Middle East in particular.' Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry Director-General Ronen Plot released this statement: 'In the era of the Internet and the social networks, when the Internet influences strategic changes in the character of the regimes around us, the State of Israel’s public diplomacy efforts in Arabic are of utmost importance.

In keeping with the policy outlined by Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, the ministry is placing emphasis on public diplomacy infrastructures in Arabic, both on the Internet and social media and vis-à-vis the relevant elements in the media.' Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Ministry Spokesman Gal Ilan reiterated in an email to The Algemeiner that the department was started, in part, as a way for Israel to combat its negative image in the Arab-speaking world through the same channels that have worked so effectively in recent regional uprisings. 'There is no doubt that one of the most salient elements of the recent changes in the Middle East has been the role of communications technology,' Ilan told The Algemeiner. 'We believe that public diplomacy initiatives – by virtue of internet and social media – have the power to reveal Israel’s true face and reach people’s hearts and minds and to effect Israel’s image among the Arab communities.'” Image from article

S. Korea riding K-pop craze in Latin America for public diplomacy - Oh Seok-min, Yonhap:  "As the phenomenon known as the Korean Wave, or 'Hallyu' in the native tongue, grows in popularity throughout the world, South Korea is hoping to use its pop culture's recent fame to promote public diplomacy, especially in Latin America where the Asian culture is truly beginning to be embraced. Despite the language barrier, and the physical distance of a 20-hour flight between Seoul and any Latin American country, thousands of fans there have posted videos of themselves performing K-pop dance moves on the Internet as well as a slew of appeals to the Korean stars to visit the continent. ... Along with music, Korean dramas are also making waves in Peru. Since 2008, 13 soap operas have been aired, and one is currently being shown during prime time by a Peruvian public broadcasting channel. The Korean government sees the growing popularity of its culture in the Latin American country as 'a superb chance' to expand its presence in a diversity of fields, said the ambassador [Seoul's Ambassador to Peru Park Hee-kwon].

'Public diplomacy is often regarded as something abstract, and it often takes a long time to bear tangible fruits. But the lack of a soft-power basis will detract from diplomacy as a whole,' Park said, citing last month's jet aircraft deal between the two countries worth US$200 million as a tell-tale example of successful public diplomacy. ... Stressing cultural influences as a key strategy for the development of the South Korea in the future, the Korean embassy in Lima now looks to establish a cultural institute in the capital city. The Seoul government also strives to promote soft-power diplomacy in Chile, where more than 200 K-pop fan clubs, with over 20,000 members, have popped up over the past three years, even though until this year not a single singer has visited the country, said officials. ... In November, the Seoul government opened the King Sejong Institute in Santiago to provide people with Korean language classes. Currently, more than 70 students, most being locals, are taking a two-semester program with four classes available -- three elementary and one mid-level class, according to the officials. Named after the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) king who invented the hangul script, King Sejong Institutes offer Korean language classes. Currently, there are 76 such institutes across the world. The South Korean government also tries to promote student exchange programs to attract more Chilean students with the purpose of fostering a future generation that is familiar with South Korea and who are expected to play the role of 'goodwill ambassadors' to the nation in the long term." Image from article, with caption: Peruvian fans for South Korea's K-Pop boy band 2PM.

UAE pavilion rated top in class by US study in public diplomacy - "A new publication has thrown further light on the impressive success of the UAE Pavilion at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai. 'Our results also indicate that with sensory stimulation and dramatic resonance, the UAE Pavilion was the most successful in presenting its national image at the Shanghai EXPO. It serves as a revealing case of 'strategic narrative' in nation brand storytelling by achieving an even balance between 'credibility' and 'novelty' through its content and expressions. Most important, this was accomplished with an adept grasp of the contextual dynamics of the Shanghai Expo. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the UAE pavilion made a distinctive, positive impact on the image of the country among the Chinese public.' This is a direct quotation from the closing remarks of a book published by the University of Southern California Centre on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School. The authors, Professor Jian Wang and Dr Shaojing Sun were reporting on the results of a survey entitled: Experiencing National Brands, A Comparative Analysis of Eight National Pavilions at EXPO Shanghai 2010."

Wait. What’s my thing? - Group 2 of Applied Public Diplomacy: "[W]e as [PD] practitioners need to bring specific skill sets to the field. It might not be enough just to be well versed in the art of public diplomacy- we need something to break us into the field so that we can show our colors."

Culture and Public Diplomacy - Miranda Patterson, InCommunication: "Culture is more present in the practice of public diplomacy than most people realize."

A Conversation on PD - Elaine, The Group Five: IC - IM Crew: "When studying public diplomacy, I think it is all too often seen as an optimistic, good-hearted action; which it usually is. However, the side of influencing other cultures can have negative effects as well."

Rejection - Ren's Micro Diplomacy ~ public diplomacy and soft power: "An excerpt from my personal statement, to focus on the public diplomacy of immigration: [']I am applying for a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship because I’d like to explore how the public and private sectors can partner to promote open, secure borders and transparent migration policy. From immigration and security perspectives, Germany has two borders, its own and the larger EU border.

Thus, domestic, regional and international cooperation, along with broad public support for immigration policy, is crucial to its security and economic future. As immigration is a controversial and sensitive area for Germany, transparency and open dialogue with the public and other stakeholders are vital.['] And the rejection letter - [']Dear Candace,Thank you for applying to the 2013-2014 Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program. The evaluation committee has recently completed its review of all applications. This year was among the most competitive in the Bosch Fellowship’s 30-year history, and the committee was faced with many difficult decisions. We regret to inform you that your application was not selected for further consideration. ... [']" Image: Blog heading


Egypt's constitutional crisis: Overreaching by Islamists, including the country's president, has made the referendum that begins Saturday a source of division - Editorial, President Mohamed Morsi will need to reach out to Egyptians — including Christians, secularists and women — who feel they have been excluded from a revolution they helped create. A prosperous and internationally respected Egypt will have to be not only democratic but tolerant and law-abiding. Image from

Egypt needs to learn the art of compromise - Jane Harman, Washington Post: Just as Egyptians are seriously considering the way forward, so must Washington. Now that the opposition is in the game — and not just rallying people in Tahrir Square — the focus should be on the long term. Both Islamists and secular liberals need to learn that compromise is not a dirty word.

A Human Rights Victory: Obama fails even to mention Sergei Magnitsky by name - Review and Outlook, Wall Street Jounral: Throughout the first term President Obama has pushed a "reset" in relations with Russia, muting criticism of Mr. Putin's slide to authoritarianism. The Administration tried to kill the Magnitsky Act, and in his statement on its passage Mr. Obama pointedly failed even to mention Magnitsky or the provision named after him in the new law. We can be grateful that at least Congress was willing to stand up for American values.

Rice’s Blunt Style Endeared Her to President, but Not All - David E. Sanger and Jodi Kantor, New York Times: Mr. Obama rarely lets his annoyance with foreign leaders show in public; Ms. Rice rarely hides hers. There are moments, one of Ms. Rice’s longtime friends said, “where she says what he’s thinking, but can’t say.” A former White House aide added: “She suffers from the same thing the president suffers from in D.C., which is that she doesn’t want to go around and pat everyone’s back.” That could have been a problem in the State Department, where many foreign officers found Ms. Rice’s approach unnecessarily contentious. They said her blunt style might be a good quality for a presidential alter-ego, but not for the nation’s top diplomat.

The case for John Kerry as secretary of state - David Ignatius, Washington Post: Kerry is a familiar figure to America and the world. He has been a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for nearly three decades. This very familiarity can seem something of a liability: the lean face, the patrician bearing, the status as a presidential also-ran. But the fact that Kerry is a known commodity, with a predictable, reliable persona, is one of his strengths.

Workers abused by immune diplomats: Enslavement, rape reported - Chuck Neubauer, The Washington Times: Despite a global crackdown on human traffickers and a pledge by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that stopping this type of “modern slavery” was a top priority, foreign diplomats in the United States remain immune from punishment when they abuse members of their household staffs.

In China, propaganda remains expansive, but more hidden - China's propaganda ministry has long been an active controller of public messages in the Communist country. But nowadays, with greater access to the Internet and skepticism running high, the propaganda ministry is stepping up its efforts, but trying to be more unseen in what it does.

The newscasts on Chinese Central Television looks like a newscast anywhere. But behind the scenes, the propaganda apparatus is still hard at work. Chinese journalists still get regular directives from the Propaganda Bureau about what to write, what not to write, where to place stories on a page, and how long to leave them up online. Image from

Palestinian Propaganda Isn't 'Unraveling' - Neil Snyder, American Thinker: Palestinian propaganda isn't "unraveling." It's taking hold and beginning to roll with a force that may be impossible to stop. The word "unravel" means to come undone, but that's not what's happening. Palestinian propaganda is coming together, and it's being embraced by every country bordering Israel, Arab nations in North Africa, the Iranian government, the European Union, and leftists the world over. It's even taking hold in the U.S.

BBC admits pandering to Israeli propaganda - Amena Saleem, The Electronic Intifada: One of the most consistent aspects of the BBC’s reporting of Gaza and Israel is the insistence of its journalists that any “outbreak of violence” is the fault of the Palestinians.

Image from entry, with caption: Israel’s 10 November 2012 killing of 18-year-old Ahmad Dardasawi was not deemed newsworthy by the BBC.

Obama Issues Scud Propaganda For War On Syria - Michael Gordon, famous for writing Iraq WMD scare stories together with Judith Miller, is again willingly distributing administration scare stories and to promote a new war: Syria Fires Scud Missiles at Insurgents, U.S. Says.

Propaganda War on Syria Rages: Humanitarian intervention and responsibility to protect (R2P) mask ravaging one country after another - Stephen Lendman, The media wars rage against Syria. People are being systematically lied to and manipulated to accept more war. Western-recruited proxies wage it no-holds barred. They specialize in gruesome atrocities. Managed news reports suppress them. Full-scale intervention looms. It could happen anytime. Early next year looks most likely.

Syria: “Chemical Propaganda” and Fabricated Evidence: Selected Articles - Julie Lévesque,

Iran Propaganda 101: What's Missing from This Story About Detained Journalists? - Scott Lucas, On Tuesday, Iran State outlet Press TV noticed a story by the Committee to Protect Journalists about a record-setting 232 reporters in prison as of 1 December 2012. Or, rather, they noticed part of it, "Turkey is World’s Worst Jailer of Journalists": Turkey has been named as the world’s worst jailer of the press by imprisoning at least 49 journalists on terror-related charges, press freedom watchdog says.... The International Press Institute (IPI) and the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), however, say Turkey has 71 jailed journalists.

So what's missing from the story? Well, if Press TV had made the defiant leap from #1 to #2, it might have noticed something closer to home. The CPJ summarises: Iran, the second-worst jailer with 45 behind bars, has sustained a crackdown that began after the disputed 2009 presidential election. The authorities have followed a pattern of freeing some detainees on six-figure bonds even as they make new arrests. The imprisoned include Zhila Bani-Yaghoub, an award-winning editor of the Iranian Women’s Club, a news website focusing on women’s issues. She began serving a one-year term in September on charges of “propagating against the regime” and “insulting the president” for articles she wrote during the 2009 election. Her husband, journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amouee, is serving a five-year prison term on anti-state charges. Image from entry

Zero Dark Thirty: CIA hagiography, pernicious propaganda - Glenn Greenwald, The most pernicious propagandistic aspect of this film is not its pro-torture message. It is its overarching, suffocating jingoism. This film has only one perspective of the world - the CIA's - and it uncritically presents it for its entire 2 1/2 hour duration. All agents of the US government - especially in its intelligence and military agencies - are heroic, noble, self-sacrificing crusaders devoted to stopping The Terrorists; their only sin is all-consuming, sometimes excessive devotion to this task.

Almost every Muslim and Arab in the film is a villainous, one-dimensional cartoon figure: dark, seedy, violent, shadowy, menacing, and part of a Terrorist network (the sole exception being a high-level Muslim CIA official, who takes a break from praying to authorize the use of funds to bribe a Kuwaiti official for information; the only good Muslim is found at the CIA). Image from article, with caption: Jessica Chastain's character in the new film Zero Dark Thirty is based on the CIA analyst known as 'Jen.'


Hip-Hop Artists Are Becoming Colleges’ Most Sought After Lecturers -

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