Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28

"At a Kremlin reception, Mr. Cliburn was bearhugged by Khrushchev. 'Why are you so tall?' Khrushchev asked. 'Because I am from Texas,' Mr. Cliburn answered."

Anthony Tommasini, "Van Cliburn, Cold War Musical Envoy, Dies at 78," New York Times


From Card Catalogues to 21st Century Community Centers: New Dynamics for the American Space - Remarks, Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Boston, MA, February 27, 2013 - U.S. Department of State: "Public diplomacy is about recognizing that, in foreign policy, people are key. We can’t address the challenges of the 21st century solely through the lens of policy. We have to do it with our physical and virtual engagement with people by deepening, expanding and leveraging our discourse with them to create the conditions for our policies to work. Otherwise our policies are flying blind. When America is absent, especially from the dangerous places, there are consequences. Extremism takes root, our interests suffer and our security at home is threatened. So that is public diplomacy in a nutshell. One place where we can practice public diplomacy is in an American Space. What is an American Space? In the days of President Eisenhower, and until pretty recently, we had American libraries abroad—traditional libraries with books and card catalogs. But in a rapidly changing world, powered by social media and instant information, those traditional libraries are evolving into dynamic community spaces. What’s the difference? People find information about the United States, sometimes through books and journals, but also on touch screens and e-readers or have global online interchanges with people in the region or the United States or visit an interactive science corner like the one we have in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, that is a full-fledged interactive science museum, complete with an astronomical observatory and a standing dinosaur model.

American Spaces are extension cords for public diplomacy, extending our reach overseas directly to people. At a time when so many of our embassies are forced by necessity to protect our diplomats, it’s critical that we can go outside our compounds so we can engage in what Edward R. Murrow called 'the last three feet – one person talking to another.' An American Space is not always physically large. In the former Soviet Union, an enterprising diplomat in 2001 set up American corners in libraries and universities, literally just a corner of American culture and history in a sea of Russian content. ... Let me share another number with you – the smallest number there is. Does anyone here know the percentage of the entire federal budget that we spend on foreign policy? It is one percent. That’s not just for our diplomatic operations around the world, it includes foreign aid. And our spending on public diplomacy is just a drop in that bucket." Image from

Islamist Militant Threats in Eurasia - Testimony, Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats and Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade. Washington, DC. February 27, 2013, U.S. Department of State: "On the diplomatic front, the United States holds annual bilateral consultations with each of the five Central Asian countries. These consultations, which I chair with the Foreign Ministers or Deputy Foreign Ministers of each country, form the cornerstone of our bilateral relationships. Through these, we convey a consistent message that democratic reform, respect for freedom of expression and religion, and an active civil society all contribute to stability, while cracking down on dissent and driving it underground may create more favorable conditions for radicalism. Our public diplomacy and assistance programs also reinforce our objective of strengthening respect for human rights and the rule of law."

6 Ways Sequestration Will Harm Gay and Transgender Americans - Center For American Progress: "Sequestration limits U.S. capacity to protect the human rights of gay and transgender people worldwide [:]

The Department of State has taken the lead in promoting a comprehensive human-rights agenda aimed at protecting the human rights of gay and transgender people around the world. Eighty countries have laws or other legal provisions criminalizing sex between people of the same gender, and being gay is punishable by death in five countries. Sequestration will be detrimental to the public diplomacy efforts conducted by U.S. embassies to promote gay and transgender human rights and would deal a significant blow to support for global gay and transgender equality." Image from

Public Schedule for February 28, 2013 - U.S. Department of State: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 12:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine delivers opening remarks at the film screening of Buzkashi Boys, at the Department of State. Please click here for more information. (OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)"

Студенты из США практикуют в Казахстане публичную дипломатию - В Алматы приехали профессор Университета Эмерсон Грегори Пейн и пятеро его студентов, изучающие международные коммуникации и публичную дипломатию: [Google translation]: Students from the United States to engage in public diplomacy Kazakhstan. In Almaty arrived professor at Emerson Gregory Payne and his five students of international communication and public diplomacy]: Ayshet Andruhaeva, "The team arrived in Almaty for a week and stay until March 5. Gregory Payne taught in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan within the education grant program of the U.S. State Department. In Kazakhstan, it is the first time. Gregory Payne runs projects for public diplomacy in Mexico, Barcelona and Iceland. After the tragedy of September 11, 2001, Gregory Payne, together with his former student created a program to exchange students from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia - in order to promote mutual understanding through communication. PUBLIC DIPLOMACY Gregory Payne teaches a course on Public Diplomacy at the University of Emerson. Public diplomacy usually means of communication with the population of the country to establish a dialogue, to inform the people of this country and to act on them. If the usual diplomacy describes ways of Governments at a high level, the public diplomacy describes how the country or organization to communicate with citizens of other countries. ... Gregory Payne believes that the knowledge of Americans about Kazakhstan limited, and the information which is supplied media often distorts the picture and leads to misconceptions about the country. Professor says that the American media is often served not news, but the so-called infotainment, that is 'info-entertainment - information with entertainment content to attract a wider audience.

From degree to diplomacy - Brittany Gervais, Berkeley Beacon: "Communication studies alumna Kerry ... Velez graduated from Emerson in December with the goal of one day becoming a foreign diplomat [sic]. To gain some firsthand experience, she participated in a 10-week internship program last summer at the U.S. Embassy in Australia.Associate Professor of Communication Studies Gregory Payne said he knows how dedicated Velez is to her goals. He taught her in a seminar class in public diplomacy two years ago, and said she was a very motivated student. 'She excelled in that class,' he said. ... Payne said Velez often visits his classes to talk about her experiences interning in different countries, like Australia and Kazakhstan.

He said the discussions often motivate his students to step outside of the classroom and explore other opportunities. ... Payne said becoming a foreign diplomat requires an interest in other cultures and a sense of leadership. 'You have to be a strategic thinker, you have to be able to analyze critically, and you also have to have very good listening skills,' he said. 'If you are a leader and you want to make a difference in the way the world operates, public diplomacy is the way to go.'" Image from article, with caption: Alumna Kerry Velez (far left), Ambassador Bleich (middle), and three members of the Australian American Association at a Fourth of July party

Letter: The Value of McCoy Cartoons - John Karol, Orford, "I agree with a recent McCoy cartoon depicting the Bible bursting into flames as President Obama swears to 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States' during his second inauguration. How better to represent the Obama administration’s violation of rights and procedures guaranteed by our Constitution? Consider, for example [inter alia]: ... Obama authorizing our government, under the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, to disseminate 'public diplomacy' (aka propaganda) not only abroad but now within the United States."

BBC and VOA condemn Chinese jamming of their English shortwave broadcasts (update) - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Voice of America’s David Ensor to speak at WSU commencement - "David Ensor, director of Voice of America, will speak at the Washington State University commencement ceremony for graduates of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, the College of Business and the College of Education on May 4 in Beasley Coliseum. ... VOA produces about 1,500 hours of news and programming each week for an estimated global audience of 123 million people, 'to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication about America and the world.'”

At Berkeley screening of ’5 Broken Cameras,’ StandWithUs brings Israeli army propagandists - Maggie Sager, "To kick off Israeli Apartheid Week at UC Berkeley, Students for Justice in Palestine organized a free screening of '5 Broken Cameras,' the Oscar-nominated documentary about Palestinian resistance in the West Bank village of Bil’in. The event last Thursday night was a tremendous success, with more than 100 people packing the large lecture hall to witness Emad Burnat’s intimate portrait of Bil’in’s heroic struggle against occupation and Israel’s ongoing confiscation of the village’s land. ... More than two thirds of the audience had left by the time members of Tikvah Students for Israel entered the auditorium.

Tikvah is a right-wing Zionist group on campus whose organizing highlights include 'Israel Peace and Diversity Week' to counter Israel Apartheid Week, and 'Ethics of the IDF: The Code of the World’s Most Ethical Military'. This particular night Tikvah students were accompanied by Israeli soldiers with whom they had just concluded the Berkeley segment of a nation-wide tour, 'Israeli Soldiers Stories: Real Soldiers. Real Lives. Real People.'" Image from

US wants to victimize ordinary Iranians: Dr. Mohammad Marandi [video] - "[Mohammad] Marandi [a professor of Tehran University]: [T]he United States has blood on its hand. There is no doubt about it, and so do the Europeans. And to put pressure on ordinary Iranians in order to put pressure on the Iranian government is seen by Iranians as quite barbaric, and if you look at the Gallup polls that just came out, this is an American agency; it is an American organization; it is not Iranian and it is not sympathetic to Iranians, it shows that the overwhelming majority of Iranians blame the United States and the Europeans and the West basically for the sanctions. So it is a public diplomacy fiasco on behalf of the West. They anger Iranians. The rest of the world sees them as behaving immorally and then on the other hand, they want to speak to Iran. How can you have successful negotiations when you are trying to make ordinary people suffer? It is obvious that it simply will not work."

Serbia and Syria: There has been a failure of public diplomacy by the US, the UK, France and Germany to serve the interests of stability in either Serbia and Syria, and thus a failure to strengthen or secure both ‘western’ interests, and the interests of the poor people of these two countries - Julian Harston, "In the face of it Serbia and Syria have nothing in common at all today. They share only the memory of a proud place in the Non-Aligned movement when that meant something all those years ago. But when, a couple of weeks ago the German Ambassador in Belgrade came close to an apology for a disobliging statement he had made about Serbia, (he said he had been mis-translated. But he clearly had not ), a link between Serbia and Syria became clear. The link is the failure of Western ‘megaphone diplomacy’ to be an influence for the better in both countries. There has been a failure of public diplomacy by the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany to serve the interests of stability in either country – and thus a failure to strengthen or secure both ‘western’ interests, and the interests of the poor people of Syria or of Serbia.

Ironically it started with Kosovo and Serbia and was followed by Syria, with a brief venture into some common sense in Libya, where there was recognition that Arabs were essential to the mix if change were to be consolidated. In the case of Syria the public and loud moral outrage expressed by Western leaders at the start of the civil war did nothing to help solve the problem, however justified that outrage was, and still is. It was necessary not to be loud but to be smart." Image from

Turkey-EU Relations: A New Beginning? - Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 10 Issue: 37: "[M]any Turks have lost all hope of ever achieving EU membership. Two thirds of Turkish citizens do not think that Turkey should further pursue the European accession process (see EDM, January 30). In observing this phenomenon, Professor Dedeoglu [Political observer and Galatasaray University (Istanbul) professor Beril Dedeopglu] suggests that Turkey needs to improve its public diplomacy push to convince and revitalize the Turkish people’s hopes toward the EU process."

Metzgar article on U.S.-China relationship set for journal - "Assistant professor Emily Metzgar’s article, 'The Chinese Media Reciprocity Act, Public Diplomacy and the U.S.-China Relationship,' is set for publication in the journal Place Branding and Public Diplomacy."


Van Cliburn, Cold War Musical Envoy Dies at 78 - Anthony Tommasini, New York Times: Van Cliburn, the American pianist whose first-place award at the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow made him an overnight sensation and propelled him to a phenomenally successful and lucrative career, though a short-lived one, died on Wednesday at his home in Fort Worth. He was 78. His publicist, Mary Lou Falcone, confirmed the death, saying that Mr. Cliburn had been treated for bone cancer. Mr. Cliburn was a tall, lanky 23-year-old, hailing from Texas, when he clinched the gold medal in the inaugural year of the Tchaikovsky competition. The feat, in Moscow, was viewed as an American triumph over the Soviet Union at the height of the cold war. He became a cultural celebrity of pop-star dimensions and brought overdue attention to the musical assets of his native land.

Gridlock, Tehran-style: The U.S.-Iran relationship has seen a mix of good news and bad of late - Doyle McManus, With the United States locked in confrontation with Iran, was it good or bad for diplomacy that "Argo," a movie about U.S. spies getting the best of the Iranians, won this year's Academy Award for best picture? Depends on whom you ask. To Iran's government, "Argo" was nothing more than anti-Iranian propaganda — "an advertisement for the CIA," according to the state-run television network — not to mention that the Oscar, suspiciously enough, was awarded by Michelle Obama. But to young Iranians who have watched the movie on bootleg DVDs, "Argo" has been an opportunity to view the hostage crisis of 1979 and 1980 through American eyes for the first time.

"'Argo' has forced people in Iran to confront a very ugly episode in their past, and that's probably a good thing," says John W. Limbert, one of the 52 American hostages who didn't get smuggled out of the country by the CIA and spent more than a year imprisoned in Tehran. That strange mix of good news and bad news runs across the rest of the tangled U.S.-Iranian relationship as well. The second half of 2013 may turn out to be a promising window for diplomacy with Iran. The Iranian presidential election will be over. The U.S. presidential election is already over. Iran's action in converting enriched uranium to nonmilitary reactor fuel has reduced pressure from Israel for immediate action. At that point, the biggest danger may be political gridlock in Tehran. Image from

Why Iran says no: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sees the nuclear issue in terms of his political survival - Hussein Banai, Simply put, normalization of relations between Iran and the United States would deprive Khamenei and the deeply invested cohort of radical ideologues around him of a powerful justification for their arbitrary rule. Continued enmity with the United States has time and again proved to be a convenient excuse for silencing the reformist opposition (as in the case of the 2009 Iranian presidential election, which has simply become known as "the sedition") and managing the increasingly fragmented conservative establishment. The difficult dilemma facing the Obama administration, therefore, is not simply one concerning the rights or responsibilities of Iran under the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It is how to address and navigate the crisis of political legitimacy haunting Khamenei and his radical base of power.

Washington’s last chance to help Syria - Editorial Board, Washington Post: If the Obama administration is to lead on Syria, it must commit itself to steps that can bring about the early collapse of the regime and its replacement by a representative and responsible alternative. Only direct political and military intervention on the side of the opposition can make that happen.

John Kerry's Syrian Second Chance: Not so long ago, the new secretary of state was among those who saw hope in reasoning with Bashar Assad - Fouad Ajami, Wall Street Journal: There is no substitute for military aid that neutralizes the Assad regime's deadly firepower.

We must be done with the alibi that we can't arm and see this rebellion to victory because the jihadists now have the upper hand in the ranks of the rebels. Image from article, with caption: Syrian President Bashar Assad and then-Sen. John Kerry in Damascus, Jan. 8, 2005

Secretary of State John Kerry on Iran: It’s an ‘elected’ government - Cheryl K. Chumley, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday made the same claim of Iran’s “elected” government that got Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in hot water with senators during last month’s confirmation hearing. Many would argue Iran’s government is far from duly elected. Mr. Kerry made the claim during Wednesday’s stop in France, as he stood beside French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, according to a report from Foreign Policy. “Iran is a country with a government that was elected and that sits in the United Nations,” he said, according to Foreign Policy. “And it is important for us to deal with nation-states in a way that acts in the best interests of all of us in the world.”

Turkey, the Unhelpful Ally - Halil M. Karaveli, New York Times: President Obama has relied heavily on Turkey in seeking to oust Mr. Assad and Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to visit the Turkish capital, Ankara, later this week. But Turkey is part of the problem. It is exacerbating Syria’s sectarian strife, rather than contributing to a peaceful and pluralistic solution. The United States must beware of doing the bidding of Sunni powers — especially Turkey — that are advancing sectarian agendas that run counter to America’s interest of promoting pluralism and tolerance. Left unchecked, rising sectarianism could lead to a dangerous regional war.

Censorship’s Many Faces - Yu Hua, New York Times: When it comes to censorship in China, the primary factors are often economic, not political. Publishing houses that were once government financed have operated as commercial enterprises for years now. To be sure, there are some limits in book publishing — the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 are taboo, for example — but fewer than in film.

Television censorship is a bit less strict. Programming directors decide what gets broadcast, but the propaganda ministry often demands changes. China Central Television, the state broadcaster, is the most carefully monitored; regional stations have more leeway. News programming undergoes the strictest censorship, while other programs — particularly sports — have more freedom. Newspaper censorship is also relatively more relaxed than film censorship, but stricter than book censorship. Image from

Screen Propaganda, Hollywood and the CIA: Selected Articles - Julie Lévesque,

Image from entry

How the Government Turned Comic Books Into Propaganda - Greg Beato, Government Issue: Comics for the People, a 2011 anthology compiled by Richard Graham, an associate professor and media services librarian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, suggests that if there was any entity that believed in the power of comic books to indoctrinate and instruct as Wertham did, it was the U.S. government. To see complete versions of more than 200 titles that the U.S. Government Printing Office, the U.S. Department of Labor, and countless other federal and state agencies have published over the years, see the online collection at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s website. Notable titles the government published include: 1. The Life of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States. Courtesy of University of Nebraska-LincolnArtist/Writer: Unknown. Date published: 1943. Government agency: Office of War Information, U.S. Government Printing Office. “It’s time for us to stop bureaucratic organizations from using public funds in such a way,” charged Congressman John Taber (R-NY) in 1943 when, in the midst of World War II, the Office of War Information issued this 16-page cartoon biography of President Franklin Roosevelt. Accurately noting the publication’s lack of information that would be useful to soldiers on a fighting front, Taber characterized the effort as “purely political propaganda…designed entirely to promote a fourth term and dictatorship.” According to him, it looked as if it were created by the artist “who gets up Tarzan for the funny papers.”

Certainly it presents Roosevelt, who in addition to being paralyzed from the waist down, was then suffering from high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and a range of other ailments, with Tarzan-like vigor. Kicking off with a panel that illustrates Roosevelt’s shooting prowess as a young lad, the comic book presents Roosevelt as a rugged and dynamic presence, playing football at Harvard, sailing the high seas, restoring American prosperity with giant public works projects, and earlier in his life, sort of licking some mysterious malady that left him unable to be depicted standing up: “Roosevelt’s determined fight amazed physicians. His recovery became almost complete…” On November 7, 1944, President Roosevelt convincingly won his fourth presidential election. 2. United States Marines #3: A Leatherneck Flamethrower. Courtesty of University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Artist: Mart Bailey, Wood Cowan, Ogden Whitney, Ray McGill. Writer: Milburn McCarty. Date published: 1944. Publisher: Government Enterprises. This commercial title, available at newsstands alongside the crime and horror comics that would cause such a national uproar during the late 1940s and early 1950s, was intermittently published by a private corporation but reviewed and cleared by the U.S. Marine Corp.

Unlike government titles charged with turning sewage treatment processes or Social Security benefits into the stuff of page-turning drama, this title featured government work in all its two-fisted, action-packed glory, with page after page of machine-gun strafing, saber disembowelings, and other vividly rendered war-time carnage. Issues like this one also featured dozens of actual black-and-white photographs of Marines in combat—hanging out in foxholes, poking enemy dead with bayonets, carrying their wounded brethren on stretchers. In Government Issue, Richard Graham notes that while many commercial newspaper comic strips featured content depicting the war, including depictions of “Nazis as Teutonic buffoons and the Japanese as blood-drooling torturers,” the Office of War Information worried that such depictions were “too simplistic and could lead to over overconfidence” because they portrayed “the enemy as lazy and posing little threat.” Perhaps that’s why on the cover of this Marine-approved comic, Prime Minister Tojo is depicted as a lively eight-legged sea-monster. Images from article

The United States Of Propaganda (What We’re Up Against) - Mickey Z, In what PR watchdog John Stauber calls “perhaps the most effective job of large-scale war propaganda which the world has ever witnessed,” the Committee on Public Information, run by veteran newspaperman George Creel with the help of others, used all available forms of media to promote the noble purpose behind World War I: To keep the world safe for democracy. The average American was notoriously wary of any hint of their country entering the bloody conflict. As a result, men like Creel and Bernays were called upon to change some minds with some good old-fashioned propaganda and persuasion. The Creel Committee (as it came to be known) was the first government agency for outright propaganda in U.S. history; it published 75 million books and pamphlets, had 250 paid employees, and mobilized 75,000 volunteer speakers known as “four minute men,” who delivered their pro-war messages in churches, theaters, and other places of civic gatherings. The idea, of course, was to give the war effort a positive spin. To do so, the nation had to be convinced that doing their part to support global military conflict on a scale never before seen was indeed a good idea. “It is not merely an army that we must train and shape for war,” President Woodrow Wilson declared at the time, “it is an entire nation.” The age of manipulated public opinion had begun in earnest. Although Wilson won reelection in 1916 on a promise of peace, it wasn’t long before he severed diplomatic relations with Germany and proposed arming U.S. merchant ships -- even without congressional authority. Upon declaring war on Germany in December 1917, the president proclaimed, “conformity will be the only virtue and any man who refuses to conform will have to pay the penalty.” In time, the masses got the message as demonstrated by these (and other) results: Fourteen states passed laws forbidding the teaching of the German language. Iowa and South Dakota outlawed the use of German in public or on the telephone. From coast to coast, German-language books were ceremonially burned. The Philadelphia Symphony and the New York Metropolitan Opera Company excluded Beethoven, Wagner, and other German composers from their programs. Irish-American newspapers were banned from the mails because Ireland opposed England -- one of America's allies -- as a matter of principle. German shepherds were renamed Alsatians.

Sauerkraut became known as “liberty cabbage.” Image from

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 27

"We just finished one of those wonderful French lunches that have been drawing Americans to Paris for centuries."

--Secretary of State John Kerry, "Secretary's Remarks: Remarks With French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius," U.S. Department of State; FYI, your PDPBR compiler's ca. 5-minute interview on John Kerry on Huffington Live [10 minutes + into the segment]:  the end of the segment mentions John Kerry's high school, "preppy" St. Paul's School; more on St. Paul's, see. Image from


Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST): "The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1986. Located at the State Department’s George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center in Arlington, Virginia, ADST advances understanding of American diplomacy and supports training of foreign affairs personnel through a variety of programs and activities. Over the past quarter century ADST has conducted more than 1800 oral histories, which are also posted on the Library of Congress website, with more to come.

Interviewees include such fascinating people as Prudence Bushnell, who describes her harrowing experiences during the bombing of U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Julia Child, Philip Habib, Dean Rusk, George Ball, Kathleen Turner, and many others. Excerpts from our oral history collections highlight the compelling, the horrifying, the thought-provoking, and the absurd. In other words, they reflect the reality of diplomacy, warts and all, making them a great resource for academics, international relations and history students, and for those who just like a great read." Image from site


How U.S. creates and employs war propaganda: Weapons of mass distraction -, "Abby Martin takes a look at MSNBC's recent documentary about the lies leading up the Iraq war, and the closer look at the corporate media's complicity in selling war to the American people by highlighting multiple staged events."

Film on Moroccan Jews Survives Zionist Propaganda Charges (Video) - Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu - "A Moroccan film on Jews who have abandoned the country for Israel has met fierce Islamist and left-wing protests but has survived charges that it is 'Zionist propaganda' designed to encourage “normalization” with Israel.

In the film “Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes from the Mellah,” director Kamal Hachkar talks with people in villages about their memories of some of the 300,000 Jews who once lived in Morocco. He also flew to Israel to speak with former Moroccans, recording their native accents that helped him win over suspicious natives when he showed the film back home, the Associated Press reported. “It tells the story of a forgotten part of Morocco’s history, a history that is not taught at school,” Hachkar told the news agency. 'My goal is to tell the human story and to defend the plurality of Moroccan history and identity.' Image from entry


America’s Russian-Speaking Immigrants and Refugees: Twentieth Century Migration and Memory - "The Harriman Institute is pleased to announce the receipt of a prestigious NEH Summer Institute grant for June 2013. Co-Directed by Harriman Research Scholar Edward Kasinec and the Columbia University Libraries’ Robert Davis, and with the leadership of Harriman Director Timothy M. Frye, the Institute will consider the substance of the terms 'diaspora,' 'transnational,' 'accommodation,' and 'memory' through the specific prism of the four distinct waves—First (1917-40), Second (1947-55), Third (1967-89), and Fourth (1989 to the present)— of Russian-speaking immigrants to America.

One of the core issues addressed is whether we can create a sophisticated narrative synthesis of the 'Russophone Experience' in America, that could be integrated into broader courses on American politics and immigration, sociology, anthropology, and ethnic studies. More than this, can this synthesis be applied to the experience of other immigrant groups? Institute applicants—current faculty members at U.S. institutions, independent scholars, museum curators, and up to three advanced graduate students—will compete for the twenty-five available Summer Scholar spots. Over a three-week period, this select group will engage in a lively dialogue with an extraordinary array of upwards of fifty master teachers, scholars, and social services and community representatives of the last three waves of emigration (and with the children of the first)." Image (of Columbia University) from entry


Establishment of a University Partnership with University of Karachi in Karachi, Pakistan in Public Policy and Public Administration - "The Public Affairs Section of the U. S. Embassy in Islamabad and the U. S. Consulate General in Karachi announces an open competition for a cooperative agreement to establish a University Partnership between a four-year college or university in the U. S. and the University of Karachi in Public Policy and Public Administration.

Accredited U. S. four-year colleges and universities meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 USC 501(c)(3) may submit proposals to pursue institutional or departmental objectives in partnership with the University of Karachi. Objectives detailed as priorities for this partnership include: collaborative research, curriculum development, and faculty and student exchange. Faculty exchange programs of one semester and graduate student exchange programs of one month are preferred by the University of Karachi. The means of achieving these objectives is purposefully left broad to encourage the submission of innovative proposals tailored to the international education and research goals of both institutions. ... Estimated Funding: $1,000,000" Image from

Hillary Clinton's Unfinished Business at the Broadcasting Board of Governors - Robert Schadler, "Since her departure from Foggy Bottom on February 1, Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state has received extensive attention—and accolades—from the press. Most assessments have focused on Ms. Clinton's diligence as America's top diplomat, as well as her extensive travel (a total of 956,733 miles in 401 days in visits to 112 countries). Yet one can't help but wonder if her tenure would have been far better had she exercised a bit more attention to a board [Broadcasting Board of Governors] she sat on—and which has been excoriated recently by Mrs. Clinton's own department as dysfunctional and badly damaging to key foreign policy interests of the United States. ... In her final testimony before Congress on January 23, Mrs. Clinton took responsibility for the attack in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed. During the same hearing, however, she made a telling comment about the state of U.S. public diplomacy: [']Our Broadcasting Board of Governors is practically defunct in terms of its capacity to tell a message around the world. So we're abdicating the ideological arena and we need to get back into it. We have the best values. We have the best narrative.… and we're letting the Jihadist narrative fill a void. Via. Above image fromWe have to get in there and compete and we can do it successfully.['] Yet during her tenure as secretary of state, it was Mrs. Clinton herself who lacked the vision, and the perseverance, to correct this state of affairs. Let's hope that her successor at the State Department, former Massachusetts senator John Kerry, does better. Because, as the past decade of conflict in the Middle East has demonstrated convincingly, allowing the jihadist narrative to fill the void costs lives."

EU Newsbrief: Meet the New! - Delegation of the European Union to the United States, PRNewswire-USNewswire: " website of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States--has relaunched as the go-to destination for information about the European Union in the United States. The EU Delegation's new website offers visitors an enhanced user-friendly experience, including a new look and feel, expanded content, and the ability to share information across all major social networks. The complete redesign of is part of the Delegation's ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and availability of digital information about the European Union and the EU-US relationship. ' is the cornerstone of the Delegation's new overall digital strategy, which reflects our role representing the European Union in the U.S., as well as our commitment to being open and accessible to our visitors,' said Ambassador Joao Vale de Almeida, Head of the EU Delegation to the United States. 'Our public diplomacy team has worked hard to provide more in-depth, interactive content and a better user experience, and we are very excited to launch the website to serve our visitors better.'  Website features: Interactive Maps of the U.S. & EU Press Room Events Calendar Infographic Video and photo galleries"

The Molad Report on Israeli Public Diplomacy - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "Molad: The Centre for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy ... [is] a new think tank that accuses Israeli politicians of failing to address real political issues - I would read it as leaning to the left. ... The basic thrust of ... [its latest] report is to argue that Israel’s image problems are a function of its policies not its communication of those policies. ... Hence the basic logic is to demonstrate that contrary to what is often claimed Israel does have a functioning hasbara set up thus the image problem is down to the policy not the presentation. ... This is quite a useful report in that in pulls together a lot of recent developments in one place but it deal with activities rather than their local results or strategic outcomes. I suspect that a more detailed investigation would throw up the normal PD problems of poor coordination, unclear strategy and limited resources. However I also think that the basic conclusion that the problems are about policy are correct."

Worrisome findings on decision-making: Looking back at the era of PM Sharon, in theory, one could understand the logic of escalation and re-conquest of the PA areas if the Palestinian issue was a strictly military issue. But it isn't - it is first and foremost a demographic, diplomatic, cultural and moral issue - Ephraim Lavieand Matti Steinberg, "As the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard noted, life must be lived forwards, although it can only be understood backwards. This insight was confirmed by Raviv Drucker's program "Arik Sharon and the Second Intifada," which was aired earlier this month on Channel 10, and the unequivocal testimonies of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's closest advisers, among them Uri Shani. According to them, when Sharon was elected prime minister in 2001, he aimed to reoccupy the entire West Bank in order to eradicate terror. This overarching plan, they say, was known only to his closest circle of advisers ('the ranch team'). ... The fact is that Sharon did not define a strategic diplomatic objective for Israel and aimed to decide the conflict by military means alone. In the absence of a diplomatic alternative, therefore, the operational context was the sole factor determining and fashioning the reality in the field. ... Under these circumstances, absent a strategic policy and in the midst of a heated military conflict, efforts by then-Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to arrange another cease-fire were viewed as pathetic, as Shani innocently admits.

Intelligence assessments stating that then-Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat was interested in a cease-fire and in resuming the diplomatic process were also doomed to irrelevance. Rather than serve as a professional element that presents intelligence about the enemy as it understands it, Military Intelligence was harnessed to use public diplomacy band propaganda to ostensibly provide expert backing for Sharon's policies. Bblic diplomacy ut the process of escalation that could have, perhaps, provided legitimacy for the plan to seize control of the PA-controlled areas was racking up more and more casualties, thousands of dead and wounded, Jews and Palestinians alike. The human cost of the escalation skyrocketed, and whatever gains accrued in terms of 'legitimacy' came with the terrible loss of human life. In theory, one could understand the logic of escalation and re-conquest of the PA areas if the Palestinian issue was a strictly military issue. But it isn't - it is first and foremost a demographic, diplomatic, cultural and moral issue, in which military and diplomatic measures must be integrated and a balance found between them." Image from

Western empire and colonialism is over: Dr. Marandi [includes video] - "'Is there [a] difference between the Bush White House and the Obama White House right now when it comes to dealing with Iran? [Professor Mohammad] Marandi: 'Well, I do not think that in reality there will be any difference. I think that there are people in the White House that are beginning to recognize that these sanctions are not having the desired effect. In fact polls carried out recently by the United States, by Gallup, which is an American institute, have shown that the overwhelming majority of Iranians blame the United States and the Europeans for the sanctions and for the hurt and only ten percent blame the Iranian government. So this, I think, is a public diplomacy disaster for Western countries. And at the same time when Iranians see the Western countries taking barbaric, really barbaric measures to make ordinary Iranians suffer as a result of sanctions, then when their diplomats before the talks say that these sanctions are working, the sanctions which have created shortages of medicine; it makes them look, all them, uncivilized among Iranians and it will make Iranians more hard..., their approach would be simply to respond in kind.'"

China's public diplomacy "sound" realm [Google translation] - "Three realms of public diplomacy can moisten things silently 'Da Yin Xi Sheng' silence speaks to represent the ethical realm, the the religion realm and the realm of art. To achieve the triple realm beyond, prompting public diplomacy diplomatic transformation to the social, diplomatic transformation to the humane transition to the dialogue among civilizations, thus establishing the world countries, civilized countries, the global Chinese triple identity to enter the 2.0 era of public diplomacy."

India issues investor guide in Chinese - Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times: "Renewing its pitch for fresh investments, India on Wednesday launched a sector-wise investment guide specifically targeted towards Chinese companies at an investor forum in Beijing. 'The Complete Guide to Investing in India" is divided into 10 sectors where Chinese companies could potentially invest. The book, in Chinese, has information on crucial sectors like infrastructure, automobiles, hospitality, power and energy among others. Relevant rules and regulations applying to each sector have been given in the book. At present Chinese investment in India is worth around $55 billion but Indian diplomats here feel there is opportunity for much more.

The forum was jointly organised by the Indian Embassy here and the International Cooperation Department of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the top economic management agency in China. It performs functions similar to the Planning Commission of India. ... A presentation jointly prepared by the Public Diplomacy Division of Ministry of External Affairs and the Embassy was screened at the forum. It carried interviews of senior executives of Chinese companies already present in India like Sany, ZTE, Huawei and Xinxing Steels." Image from

「국민 모두가 공공외교관 」프로젝트 공모 실시 대한민국정책포털 [No google translation available]: "1. 외교통상부는 우리 국민들이 민간 외교관으로서 직접 참여하는 공공외교(Public Diplomacy) 활동을 지원하기 위해 한국국제교류재단과 함께 「국민 모두가 공공외교관」프로젝트 공모를 3.1(금)-4.30(화)간 실시한다.

Economic diplomacy and foreign policy - Mohammad Jasim Uddin, "Among the instruments, image building, country branding, globalising Bangladesh's success stories (such as Grameen model of microcredit, social business, etc.), and institutionalising public diplomacy in the country's foreign policy are important to project a positive picture of Bangladesh abroad. Associating actively with global financial organisations is one of the key instruments of economic diplomacy and an important foreign policy objective. Bangladesh foreign policy has to be guided towards these directions."

We shouldn’t start with “red lines” - Vestnik Kavkaza: "These days the round-table discussion 'Russian-Georgian dialogue. Views of young experts' is being held in Moscow. It is part of a visit by a delegation of young Georgian political analysts in Russia, organized by the Gorchakov Fund for Public Diplomacy. Natalia Burlinova, Program Director Gorchakov Fund for Public Diplomacy: [']I am glad that our Georgian partners, colleagues and, I dare to hope, friends supported the idea of this dialogue, because the main objective of this project is to create a forum where young political scientists, experts, young politicians can discuss the complex issues of our relationship. The project includes meetings of our Georgian colleagues with various well-known people in the Russian Federation. Yesterday we had a meeting with the Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin. We will have a meeting with reporters, we will have a meeting with political scientists. Now there is an incredible interest in Russia in the subject of Georgia. With the changing political situation in Georgia, of course, there was the activation of public organizations and community projects. The Gorchakov Fund is an organization that was established to promote public diplomacy in Russia, first of all for those interested in establishing a social dialogue. [']"

Did Globalization Kill Cultural Diplomacy? - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "There are still plenty of places where markets or domestic cultural policy is not going to build connections and that remains the sphere where cultural diplomacy and its intermediate agencies retain their roles."


What Americans Believe: Iran War Propaganda - John Glaser, A new Gallup poll found that 99% of Americans see Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to the US national security.

They believe Iran’s imaginary weapons program is more of a threat than North Korea’s actual nuclear weapons. Image from article

Zero Dark Thirty Wins Oscar For Best Propaganda Picture - Patrick_Henningsen, One of the most pervasive trends in 21st century western culture has become somewhat of an obsession in America. It’s called “Hollywood history”, where the corporate studio machines in Los Angeles spend hundreds of millions of dollars in order to craft and precisely tailor historical events to suit the prevailing political paradigm. ‘Hollywood history’ is very much in fashion these days. From Linclon to Dubya, and from Blackhawk Down to The Iron Lady, they constitute a significant portion of today’s major releases. There’s only one problem, however, with tailoring a story to fit neatly into a prevailing political paradigm… and over the last 100 years, the Germans and the Soviets did this too – with devastating effect, but back then we just called it propaganda.

‘Statist propaganda:’ Michelle Obama slammed for using military as ‘props’ during Oscars appearance - First lady Michelle Obama is under fire after she appeared as a long-distance award presenter on the Oscars Sunday evening, flanked by active-duty American service

members. he well-dressed members of the military stood attentively behind the first lady inside the White House as she presented the award for best picture to the movie “Argo.” But the use of those service members has left some of her critics fuming. Obama mage from entry

‘Hollywood Left Boosterism’ [includes video]: O’Reilly Takes On Michelle Obama’s Oscar ‘Propaganda’ - Bill O’Reilly played the clip of First Lady Michelle Obama‘s surprise Oscar appearance on his show Monday night and began to lay out his case for the “far left nuts that are monitoring this segment.” Why did this first lady get such a coveted spot in front of an estimated one billion people worldwide, when the same honor was never given to Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush or Laura Bush? O’Reilly told his guest, Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn, that the move “smacked of Hollywood left boosterism” and a “pure propaganda play to make them glamorous.”

Brazil: the first big ‘soft’ power - Joe Leahy, Brazil has good relations with virtually every country in the world, from the US to North Korea. It has curbed, though not yet halted completely, the destruction of the Amazon. And it is preparing to host the World Cup next year and the Olympics two years later – a feat few countries have ever attempted. If the games are successful – which they probably will be, despite Brazil’s reputation for having a very relaxed attitude to planning – they will help seal the country’s image globally as one of the world’s emerging powers. Not a military power, bristling with missiles and troubled by messy border disputes like China or India, but the first big “soft” power, a kind of Canada writ large but with Carnival thrown in. via ACP III on Facebook

Vietnamese Propaganda Posters - Adam, Among them:


"The success of China's public diplomacy just as the spring rain, moisten things silently."

--Wang Yiwei Chahar, Senior Fellow of the Institute of the Renmin University of China, Professor of International Relations [Google translation]


Via DM on Facebook

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February 25-26

"Good luck @BenAffleck and #Argo at the Oscars. Nice seeing @StateDept & our Foreign Service on the big screen.-JK"

--Secretary of State John Kerry on Twitter;  image from, with caption: good luck Pakistani cricket team


(a) Syria Propaganda Looking a Lot Like Iraq Propaganda -

(b) West’s anti-Iran nuclear claims, false propaganda: Analyst - "A political activist tells Press TV that the US-led Western allegations against Iran’s nuclear energy program are 'false propaganda' and 'lies.'”

(c) 3D printer could make live body parts -  USA Today


'Time Is Ripe' For U.S. To Support Syrian Opposition - Michele Kelemen, NPR: "As John Kerry undertakes his first foreign trip as Secretary of State, the challenges before him are great — especially the war in Syria. He holds a town hall meeting

Tuesday in Berlin, which will give us a look at his style and public-diplomacy skills — areas where his predecessor Hillary Clinton excelled." Image from

Department of State Public Schedule Tuesday, February 26, 2013 - posted at "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 11:15 a.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine is interviewed by Voice of America’s Press Conference USA radio program, at the Department of State. 12:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine delivers introductory remarks at Black History Month Public Forum, prior to a reading by Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry of the Library of Congress Natasha Trethewey, at the Department of State. 2:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine meets with Ambassador of India to the U.S. Nirupama Rao, at the Embassy of India."

Panel With Stars and Producer of Oscar-Nominated Afghan Short Film "Buzkashi Boys" - Notice to the Press, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, February 26, 2013, U.S. Department of State: "The U.S. Department of State will host a screening and roundtable discussion with the producer and stars of the Oscar-nominated short film Buzkashi Boys on February 28 at 12:30 p.m. in the Marshall Center Auditorium. The making of Buzkashi Boys was supported through a grant from U.S. Embassy Kabul to the Afghan Film Project. The goal of this project is to help revitalize the Afghan film industry, which was once a vibrant part of Afghanistan’s cultural life. During the filming of Buzkashi Boys thirteen Afghan interns were trained in all aspects of film production. Afghan media organizations, which until recently were forced to rely on foreign expertise, will benefit from this training for years to come.

Almost all of the trainees continue to work in the local media or television industry. Some are making their own films, strengthening national identity by telling their own stories. This event will be open for press coverage. Pre-set time for cameras: 11:45 a.m. from the 21st Street Entrance Lobby. Final access time for writers and still photographers: 12:15 p.m. from the 21st Street Entrance Lobby. Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver's license, passport). For further information, please contact Meg Young, Press Officer, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs at or 202-647-3532." Image from

Service members, Kuwaiti students kick language barrier - "Service members and U.S. embassy employees took part in a sports day event at the U.S. embassy in Kuwait on Feb. 16 as a part of the English Access Micro-scholarship Program. The program is a U.S. State Department-funded, two-year English-language program for Kuwaiti youth to not only learn the English language but to learn about American culture as well. ... As the teams played, the Kuwaiti students

were able to assess their newly learned language in a fun way by having to speak to their American teammates. ... 'These sports days are important for a couple of reasons,' said Grace Choi, the public diplomacy officer for the embassy and event coordinator. 'It encourages these young people to participate in some of the core values we have at the embassy, like being healthy and maintaining healthy habits. And, because they're doing it in English, it helps reinforce some of the things that they have been learning in class.'" Image from article, with caption: Service members and Kuwaiti students play soccer during a sports day event at the American embassy in Kuwait Feb. 16, as a part of the English Access Micro-scholarship Program.

Nigeria: Badagry Unveils World Tallest Drum - Rebeca Ejifoma, "Badagry the land of history, civilisation, designation for tourism and a one-time slave port, made history on Saturday, February 16, when it unveiled the world's tallest drum, measuring 11 feet in height and six feet wide. This was at the Badagry Heritage Museum, during the celebration of the Black History month in the historical littoral city for the first time. ... According to the Public Diplomacy Officer, United States Consular-General Office, Mrs. Rhonda Watson, the focus on black history stems from the fact that for too many years the contributions and accomplishment of African Americans were never recorded in the history books. 'It was as if we did not exist and that we didn't even matter,' she lamented. 'Our children were growing up ignorant of the achievements of black people and consequently had a distorted view of their own potential in life and could grow up with low aspirations in life.'"

Only good duplication between VOA and surrogate broadcasters, Secretary Sonenshine told - BBGWatcher, "During the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) meeting last Friday, February 22, 2013, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine, who represents Secretary of State John Kerry at BBG meetings, had asked two astute questions: 1. Whether placement of Alhurra programs on an Egyptian TV channel in a way competes with Alhurra brand? 2. Whether there is unnecessary duplication

between the Voice of America (VOA) and the surrogate broadcaster Radio Free Asia? The two question are extremely important for the future of U.S. international broadcasting (USIB), and indirectly also for U.S. public diplomacy and U.S. national security. Secretary Sonenshine should be applauded for asking them. ... Surrogate broadcasters are particularly threatened by IBB’s centralization plans, which would destroy their ability to specialize and serve populations in closed societies. But the Voice of America would also lose its special role of representing the United States to foreign audiences if the bureaucracy succeeds in merging VOA programs with programs of surrogate broadcasters and in changing VOA’s unique mission as defined in the VOA Charter. ... Secretary Sonenshine’s questions have produced good responses from surrogate entity heads, Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) President Brian Conniff and Radio Free Asia President (RFA) Libby Liu, and to some degree from VOA Director David Ensor. BBG member Victor Ashe summarized the discussion by concluding that some duplication in news coverage by VOA and surrogate broadcasters is necessary, but it is not necessarily bad duplication. Without it, neither VOA nor surrogate broadcasters could specialize and still attract an audience." Image from

"Radio Gessen" cannot do the job of VOA, and VOA cannot do the job of "Radio Gessen" - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting: "... BBG Watch, 22 Feb 2013: "'At the end of today’s Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) open meeting in Washington, D.C., Ann Noonan, Executive Director of the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB –, made a short statement as a member of the public, in which she praised the BBG for addressing the Radio Liberty crisis in Russia, welcomed Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty new acting president Kevin Klose and called for the reinstatement of fired Radio Liberty Russian Service journalists. ... 'In response to the GAO Report, CUSIB remains determined to defend surrogate broadcasters and the VOA at the same time. Both were clearly designed by Congress for very good reasons. Surrogate broadcasters have a special role to play as an alternative to suppressed internal media and they can’t do the job of the Voice of America. By the same token, Congress created surrogate broadcasters because VOA has a different role. CUSIB strongly believes that we need them both.'  See also video of the BBG meeting.' [Elliott comment:] Alhurra is obviously in violation of the CUSIB's vision of US international broadcasting. As described in a previous post, Alhurra "provides context and analysis to give viewers a broader understanding of the actions impacting the region [and] also provides the comprehensive coverage from the United States drawing on dedicated correspondents at the White House, State Department, Congress, and Pentagon." Because Alhurra is doing both jobs when, according to CUSIB, it can only do one job, then Alhurra should be split into two channels, one reporting on the target region, and the other reporting on the United States and the rest of the world. Audiences would have to tune to two US channels to get all the news. Audiences will not put up with such inconvenience, and will tune elsewhere, but a boondoggle is a boondoggle. And what about VOA's reporting about Africa broadcast to Africa? Doesn't VOA realize it can't do that job? BBG Watch, 24 Feb 2013: 'Even though they are not the official Radio Liberty, Radio Liberty in Exile was the first to post on the web materials marking the station’s 60th anniversary. Many in Russia see fired journalists who last September formed Radio Liberty in Exile as the real Radio Liberty upholding the traditions of the station and refer derisively to the official Radio Liberty as 'Radio Gessen.' Since October 2012, Masha Gessen has been the controversial new director of the Radio Liberty Russian Service, which is now being boycotted by many Russian opposition leaders, intellectuals, artists and journalists. Radio Liberty in Exile is planning a major event in Moscow on March 1 to mark the 60th anniversary of the first Radio Liberty Russian broadcast to the Soviet Union. It is expected to bring together many former and current Radio Liberty personalities, other independent Russian journalists, intellectuals, human rights activists and anti-Putin politicians.' --  [Elliott comment:] 'Independent Russian journalists' and 'anti-Putin politicians' perhaps do not comfortably co-exist in the same sentence.'"

US stands to lose ability to connect with citizens in closed societies if bureaucrats have their way - BBGWatcher, "The Washington bureaucrats in charge of U.S. international broadcasting (USIB) have not increased their audience in the Middle East or globally since 2008 despite getting larger budgets each year to accomplish their mission of informing the world about America and countering censorship in closed societies — a critical US national security objective. Their weekly global audience was 175 million in 2008, as it is today, even though the world’s population, which now stands at over 7 billion, has grown by about 300 million during that time, with especially high rates of population growth in some of the countries of the Muslim world. Every day, the number of people in the world increases by about 200,000. The number of people with access to the Internet has also grown tremendously in the last 5 years.

But audience numbers are not even the worst of the story. Even assuming that because of the tremendous growth of competition on the Internet, USIB cannot reach the same large audience it had several years ago, nothing can excuse IBB bureaucrats’ proposals to eliminate critical radio and television broadcasts to countries which are ruled by some of the most authoritarian and repressive regimes and/or are strategically important for the US–countries like Russia, China and Tibet. ... Surrogate broadcasters and the Voice of America could not expand their audiences because they were literally forced to accept self-defeating strategies developed by BBG bureaucrats working for the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB). The IBB bureaucracy has devised a plan to eliminate radio and television broadcasts at VOA and surrogate broadcasters by making false claims that U.S. international broadcasting could be competitive in many countries through the Internet. ... Today the IBB has the largest budget within the Broadcasting Board of Governors agency even though IBB does not produce a single program with any kind of audience." Image from entry

BBG’s Victor Ashe Welcomes Kevin Klose, Notes 60 Years of Radio Liberty [video] - BBGWatcher,

Video of CUSIB’s Ann Noonan at BBG meeting defending fired Radio Liberty journalists - BBGWatcher, Noonan image from entry

What a Defense Secretary Does - "Myriad concerns have been raised about Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s nominee for defense secretary, including his voting record, impolitic statements, two unremarkable Senate terms, scant management experience, and embarrassing performance at his confirmation hearing last month. Yet Hagel’s defenders dismiss these concerns because, they argue, the important decisions are made at the White House, by the president and his team…. This view wildly understates the role of America’s most important cabinet officer. Much of a defense secretary’s work is at his own discretion.

He is responsible for military budgets and procurement, personnel promotions, public diplomacy, the Pentagon’s relations with defense ministries and militaries around the world, tactical military movements, and most force deployments. ... (Weekly Standard, Posted 25 Feb 13)."  Image from entry

Tom Hayden on The CIA in Hollywood: The CIA Goes To Hollywood: How America’s Spy Agency Infiltrated the Big Screen (and Our Minds) [review of below book] - "[L]aws going back to the 1950s prohibit government agencies from using appropriated funds for covert and self-aggrandizing communications that amount in puffery or propaganda (those are the literal terms used). The author of the law, the late Senator Harry Bird [sic], demanded 'more news and less bull from the federal publicity mill.' The Government Accounting Office (GAO) has defined a covert communication as one that is false or misleading about its source. According to Jenkins, no one has ever asked the GAO’s expert on propaganda to investigate the CIA’s or Pentagon’s entertainment liaison programs. But Jenkins notes a 1987 case in which the State Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy, then controlled by the fiercely right-winger Otto Reich, was investigated by the GAO for paying consultants to write op-ed pieces in support of Central American policy.

The Reagan administration was found guilty of using appropriated funds to influence public opinion in the US without newspaper readers knowing that the content was shaped by the State Department. Jenkins is under no illusion that these proposals are going anywhere soon. The 'war on terrorism' provides a claustrophobic climate in which an expanding arsenal of national security laws will offer script material for years to come. This previous deference towards the CIA in Hollywood did fray during the years 1965–1975, which culminated in the congressional Senate’s Church hearings led by Senator Frank Church into CIA assassinations and other wrongdoing. But the tides ebb and flow. The US failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, the secret drone attacks on Pakistan, revelations of black sites, kill lists, and domestic spying have prodded the conscience of many an artist. The evidence in Jenkins’s book that CIA liaisons serve as production advisors is sure to start candid and searching conversations in the creative community. One can only hope so. While these movies may bring relief and a surge of self-congratulation to the American audience, they do little, if anything, to prevent the festering causes of terror and war. Meanwhile they help shield secret agencies from the sharpest possible scrutiny. The question raised by Jenkins’s book is an unsettling one: should the CIA be authorized to target American public opinion? If our artists don’t confront it more directly, and soon, the Agency will only continue to infiltrate our vulnerable film and television screens — and our minds." Image from entry

Amerikanische Wohltätigkeit im 20. Jahrhundert - Katharina Rietzle, "Parmar, Inderjeet: Foundations of the American Century. The Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller Foundations in the Rise of American Power. New York: Columbia University Press 2012. ISBN 978-0-231-14628-9; € 33,11. "Parmar charts the influence of the so-called Big Three, the foundations created by the Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie families. He begins his story with short biographies of the founders, followed by a sociological analysis of the elite socio-economic background of foundation trustees. These foundation leaders tended to be recruited from the professions or government service, and were part of the American foreign policy establishment. Parmar describes their world view as one marked by 'religiosity, scientism, racism and elitism' (p. 59). From the 1930s onwards, the Big Three sought to convince ordinary Americans that the United States should play an active role in world affairs, and built up a fairly sophisticated propaganda infrastructure by supporting organisations such as the Foreign Policy Association. During the Second World War, the foundations put their resources at the disposal of the American state by funding studies which were drawn on by the State Department. This partnership with official US foreign policy continued after 1945 when the foundations became major players in an intellectual Cold War, waged first in Europe and then the Global South. Parmar analyses foundation-sponsored programmes in public diplomacy, such as the Salzburg Seminar, aimed at persuading Europeans that the United States’ cultural and intellectual life was worthy of study. To that end, the foundations also supported American Studies programmes at European universities in the 1950s and 1960s, in cooperation with American state agencies such as the US Information Agency. Working with institutions of higher learning also formed a cornerstone of foundation policies in the Third World. ... Parmar is openly critical of the foundations, and, to some readers, his account may seem overly polemical. Yet, his findings confirm recent tendencies in the historical literature on American philanthropic foundations, not least an acknowledgment of the close connection between foundation programmes and official US foreign policy in the Cold War."

Oscar hopefuls point a frank lens at Israel - Editorial, New Jersey Jewish News: "At a discussion on Israel at last weekend’s Limmud NY conference in East Brunswick, an audience member criticized Israel’s hasbara — or public diplomacy — efforts, pointing especially to the state funding of two films that will vie for an Academy Award in the best documentary feature category Sunday night. The Gatekeepers features interviews with six former heads of Israel’s Shin Bet security service. The aging veterans speak of the difficult decisions they had to make in the name of defending Israel, and nearly all come to the conclusion that Israel must take more risks to achieve peace with the Palestinians. When director Dror Moreh asks Avraham Shalom, who headed the agency in the 1980s, with whom Israel should be negotiating, Shalom answers, 'Anyone,' including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In 5 Broken Cameras, a Palestinian-Israeli-French coproduction that also received funding from the government-funded Israel Film Council, a Palestinian farmer videotapes the encroachment of his village by the nearby Jewish settlement of Modi’in Illit. According to the film, a fence that protects the settlement also cuts off the village farmers from much of their land and olive groves. The films offer a challenging and at times painful view of the conflict, bound to make American-Jewish audiences more uncomfortable than those in Israel, where this kind of self-examination is a fixture in the Israeli media. The audience member made a fair point in asking if Israel is doing itself any favors by exporting the kinds of discussions that may be useful at home but damaging abroad. But that’s not the only fair point. The other is that such films, and the courage of the country that helps fund them, is a testament to the seriousness with which Israel regards the responsibility of being a free society. It is also a testament to a country whose warriors seem eager to lay down their swords and fight for peace. In truth, the audience for these kinds of films is relatively small, but the message they send to the world about Israeli democracy is epic."

Young Palestinians fight for equal right to higher education - "According to the Academic Watch report, the militarization of [Israeli] universities has become so prevalent that 'student soldiers' carry weapons on campus. These 'student soldiers' are the pride of Israeli academia. Along with students who join 'public diplomacy' programs — known as hasbara programs in Hebrew — they are groomed to be ambassadors for Israel. They will be the ones who seek to justify and excuse Israel’s numerous violations of human rights; the university is there to teach them how to diplomatically tiptoe around war crimes and how to find loopholes in international law."

Globalization and Migration Grand Opening: Sweden’s Year-Long Public Diplomacy Program - Calie Hill, "Globalization and migration are intricately linked in the current international economy and multicultural world. Goods, services, information and capital interchange across borders more freely than ever before. And individuals--pursuing jobs, education, and other opportunities--are relocating, often across borders. In the process, they are extending families and spreading traditions.

Tradition and culture hung from coat hangers and sizzled from a colorful array of dishware at the House of Sweden in Washington, DC on February 18th. The occasion for such splendid exhibitions was the grand opening of the Swedish Embassy's year-long public diplomacy program, themed Globalization and Migration. Sweden has been an active member of the Global Forum on Migration and Development, established in 2007, and will serve as acting chairman from 2013 until 2014." Image from article

Rohingya: Testing democracy in Myanmar - Jose Ramos-Horta and Prof. Muhammad Yunus, "One of the fundamental challenges of a democracy is how to ensure the voice of the majority does not trample the essential rights of the minority. In the founding of the United States this was addressed by the Bill of Rights, some form of which is integrated into most democracies today. Even as we applaud and rejoice in the new freedoms enjoyed by the Myanmar people, the country's newly elected government must face this challenge as they evolve from autocratic rule into a democratic state.

The tragedy of the Rohingya people, continuing to unfold in Rakhine State in the country's western corner, on the border of Bangladesh, will be its proving ground. ... We humbly add our voices to the simple demand of the Rohingya people: that their rights as our fellow human beings be respected, that they be granted the right to live peacefully and without fear in the land of their parents, and without persecution for their ethnicity or their form of worship. We ask the world to not look away, but to raise its collective voice in support of the Rohingya. In these days of public diplomacy the citizens, civil societies, NGOs, private investors and the business community have a vital role to play in the context of democratic reforms, human rights and development around the globe. We must use this voice." Uncaptioned image from article

Modern migrant's loyalty is an asset to the world - Kim Rubenstein and Danny Ben Moshe, The Sydney Morning Herald: "Once upon a time migrants left their old countries and severed ties with their homelands, but today with cheaper and more frequent travel and communication that facilitates and defines what we have come to know as globalisation, migrants maintain ties with the countries they came from. This is also part of a process known as transnationalism. It is not the preserve of the Jewish community in Australia; it is something governments such as Australia and organisations like the World Bank and United Nations encourage because it facilitates bilateral trade, investment, cultural exchange and public diplomacy. We need look no further than the Australian diaspora to work this out."

Russian and Foreign Experts Indicate Warming Trend in Difficult Russian-Polish Relations - "Dean of the Faculty of Sociology and Political Science at the Financial University of the Russian government, Alexander Shatilov, ... believes that the simplification of visa regime should be one of the priorities of the two states’ cooperation. 'We

should welcome any agreement to facilitate travel between Russia and Poland, because such public diplomacy makes a far greater contribution to understanding, rather than the activity of the officials,' he said, stressing that it is beneficial for both the Polish and the Russian side."

Former consul blesses Catalan referendum, Geoff Cowling (UK) - Laura Pous, "'Enormous' and 'extraordinary' are the adjectives Geoff Cowling, former UK general consul in Barcelona from 2002 to 2005, gave to the march for independence that took place on the 11th September, Catalonia’s National Day, which he witnessed himself. Interviewed in London, Cowling makes clear he supports the

Catalan referendum for independence which will allow Catalonia to decide its future. ... To prevent the rest of European countries from describing the Catalan situation as an 'internal affair of Spain', Cowling has a solution: internationalising the conflict. ... Before this happens Catalonia should really use its tools, through delegations, the Foreign Affairs Council, the Diplocat (Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia) to convey their message particularly throughout Europe, he argues." Image from article

Indian Diplomacy Live Updates BCIM Car Rally 2013 On Social Media - Vinaya Naidu, "The first edition of the BCIM Car Rally from Kolkata to Kunming in China, set up to establish peace in the Southeast Asian countries of Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar is being live updated through Twitter and FacebookThe rally – flagged off by West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata – will traverse 3028 km through mountainous terrains, dense jungles, vast fertile plains to deep valleys, wild streams and expansive rivers, all with 20 cars and 80 participants from the four nations through 22 February and 5 March 2013.

The rally is being live tweeted by the Twitter account of the Public Diplomacy Division of Ministry of External Affairs. One can follow the rally progress by following the hashtag #BCIM2013. Tweets are regular and what’s best – they share pictures too. At the moment the rally is being welcomed by the local residents, after having arrived at the Assam-Manipur border 2 hours ago." Image from article

BBC "strongly condemns" new Chinese jamming of World Service English shortwave broadcasts - Kim Andrew Elliott reporting on International Broadcasting

Water, Terrorism, and Public Diplomacy - Philip Seib, PD News–CPD Blog Center on Public Diplomacy: "Public diplomacy, which puts a government directly in touch with people of other nations, should more thoroughly incorporate water diplomacy as part of its repertoire of programs. This is more than a matter of doing the right thing; it will affect global security. People will fight to protect water. They will throw aside government and the rule of law if need be to ensure that they can get water. They will listen more attentively to terrorists’ promises if they believe their lives are being ruined by lack of water."

First Ladies To Brainstorm At The WETATi International Women’s Conference 2013 - "Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, First Lady of Cross Rivers State, Nigeria and Hajiya Fatima Ibrahim Shema, First Lady of Katsina State, Nigeria are amongst the distinguished participants who will speak at the annual WETATi International Women’s Conference in Linthicum Maryland. WETATi which means Women Empowered To Achieve The Impossible, is a women empowerment organization dedicated to bridging the gender gap and advancing the interests of women everywhere. ... Some of the issues to be discussed include women and broadcasting, role of female legislators in Congress, doing business with U.S. government agencies, investments in Africa and the Caribbean, women and HIV/Aids, funding for women and minority owned businesses, the role of technology in women’s lives, and micro credit. Members of the African Female Diplomatic Corps will have a special forum to discuss the role of women in public diplomacy. It is interesting to note that the African female ambassadors in Washington constitute a large bloc of the diplomatic representation in Washington, DC. Experiences of U.S. Companies doing business in Africa and the Caribbean will also be discussed. 'This is a conference whose time has come', says Dr. Mercy Obamogie, a physician and President of the Princess Ejemen Foundation. 'It will be an effective platform for networking and articulating issues of importance to women'."

Exchange students from France get the Leon High experience, tour Tallahassee - Jordan Culver, "[English professor Colette] Clarke has been bringing French students to Leon High School for the past five years. This year she has 18 students and two chaperones and is in the midst of her attempt to give them the best 'American experience' she can offer.

The students get to travel throughout Tallahassee and get an American high school experience for two weeks with the help of host families. A highlight of the students’ American experience happened Thursday when the group went to the Florida Capitol to get acquainted with Tallahassee’s intricate political structure." Image from article, with caption: French students tour the Florida Capitol

Dennis Rodman worms his way into North Korea - AP, "Former NBA star Dennis Rodman brought his basketball skills and flamboyant style — neon-bleached hair, tattoos, nose studs and all — on Tuesday to the isolated Communist country with possibly the world's drabbest dress code: North Korea. Arriving in Pyongyang, the American athlete and showman known as 'The Worm' became an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Or maybe not so unlikely: Young leader Kim Jong Un is said to have been a fan of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, when Rodman won three championships with the club.

Rodman is joining three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team for a Vice Media production to air on HBO in early April, Vice founder Shane Smith told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview before the group's departure from Beijing. Smith said the Americans hope to engage in a little 'basketball diplomacy' by running a basketball camp for children and playing pickup games with locals, and by competing alongside top athletes of North Korea — formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea." Image from

Drivers to make overland trek to Germany - Chen Xiaoru, Global Times: "About 30 people driving 14 cars will embark on a two-month trek from Shanghai to Hamburg, Germany, in an effort to strengthen ties between the two cities, the Hamburg Liaison Office in Shanghai announced Monday. The caravan will depart on May 27 and travel through 11 countries and regions before reaching Hamburg, said Pan Hua, the office's vice director. The group will travel through central Asia and make stops in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan before moving on to Europe, said Sun Weimin, vice secretary general of the Shanghai Public Diplomacy Association, which organized the event with the Hamburg liaison office and a travel agency based in Germany. The trip was organized in response to an event in 2006, when more than 50 vehicles drove from Hamburg to Shanghai to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of friendly relations between the two cities, Sun said."

Under Secretary of State Sonenshine Travels To Boston - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, U.S. Department of State: Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara D. Sonenshine will travel to Boston on February 27 to speak to students and professors at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She will discuss public diplomacy and how the public spaces around the world operated by the State Department support our foreign policies, strengthen our national security, and help to unlock bright futures for young people, including women and girls. While in Boston Under Secretary Sonenshine will also have a roundtable discussion with Tisch College Scholars and students at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, where she will engage them on the practice of public diplomacy. More information regarding the Under Secretary’s public remarks at Harvard University can be found at:

Anne Hathaway Oscar Words Lift ‘Girl Rising’: D.C. Scene - Stephanie Green, "Last night was one big sister act at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The center’s first female leader, Jane Harman, jokingly referred to Anita McBride, the former chief of staff to Laura Bush, as her 'little sister.' McBride is now executive in residence at American University’s School of Public Affairs. Harman is the center’s director, chief executive and president. She welcomed 'many women and a few good men' to a screening of 'Girl Rising,' a documentary produced by10X10, a global advocacy organization for girls’ education, and backed by Intel Corp. ... After the screening of the first 30 minutes of 'Girl Rising,' guests gathered for a panel discussion featuring Gordon and Rangita de Silva de Alwis, director of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Wilson Center, Tara D. Sonenshine, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs at the State Department, and Shradha Basnyat, a student activist from Wellesley College.

Sonenshine praised former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for creating the position of ambassador at large for women’s issues in the State Department. Sonenshine said the status of girls around the world must be 'interwoven into the fabric of American foreign policy.'” Image from article, with caption: Rangita de Silva de Alwis, director of the Global Women's Leadership Initiative at the Wilson Center, Shradha Basnyat, a student at Wellesley College, and Tara D. Sonenshine, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs.

SUxSW mixtape showcases Syracuse University music at SXSW - Chris Baker, "Hondo Mesa ... [is] the stage name of Dennis Kinsey, director of the public diplomacy program at SU's Newhouse School."


Former hostages seize Argo publicity, call for diplomacy with Iran - Josh Rogin, Foreign Policy: Two top officials who were held hostage in Tehran in 1979 called Monday for expanded diplomatic outreach to the Iranian government. The 2012 Academy Award for Best Picture was awarded Sunday evening to the film Argo, which focused on the plight of six Americans who escaped as the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was overrun by supporters of the Iranian revolution and sought refuge in the Canadian ambassador's residence.

Fifty-two of their State Department colleagues did not escape the embassy and were held hostage by the Iranian revolutionaries for 444 days. Two of those hostages spoke at an event on Capitol Hill Monday and urged the Obama administration to do more to engage Iran. Image from

Iran dismisses ‘Argo’ as ‘advertisement for the CIA’ - Cheryl K. Chumley, Iran’s state-run media dismissed the award-winning “Argo” as little more than propaganda, calling it an “advertisement for the CIA” and characterizing it as offensive to Muslims. Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini, meanwhile, said Hollywood was guilty of “distort[ing] history” with the film, according to a report in The Times of Israel.

Anti-Iran Propaganda? The Shortsighted History of Oscar Winning Film ‘Argo’ - Robert Parry, The Oscar for Best Picture went to Ben Affleck’s Argo, an escape-thriller set in post-revolutionary Iran. It hyped the drama and edged into propaganda.

But Americans would have learned a lot more if Affleck had chosen the CIA coup in 1953 or the Republican chicanery in 1980. Image from article

Iranian news agency adds sleeves to Michelle Obama’s Oscar dress - Jessica Chasmar, An Iranian government-controlled media agency has digitally altered first lady Michelle Obama’s dress in photos of her Sunday night appearance at the Oscars. Fars News Agency added a high neckline and sleeves to Mrs. Obama’s sleeveless dress she wore to announce the Oscar for Best Picture. Mrs. Obama presented the award to Ben Affleck for his film “Argo” remotely from the Diplomatic Room of the White House.

Hollywood selects leftist propaganda movie “Argo” for “Best Picture” Oscar - It’s a fake movie, and that’s what we expect from uneducated artists who play make-believe for a living. The real Best Picture of 2012 was Dinesh D’Souza’s “2016″, but they’ll never pick that, because it told the truth. It was not even included as a nominee for Best Documentary.

Hollywood Rolls Out Propaganda on Oscar Night - Just as Oscar night was winding down with the most prestigious awards being handed out, something strange happened that should have alarmed every viewer; something that should have triggered a warning in the minds of every American who cares about America, freedom and the Constitution. With no apologies and much to the chagrin of some independent thinkers, artists and movie watchers; sadly much to the delight of the Obamanite Zombies, yet simultaneously to no surprise to those who are fully awakened, the Emperor's wife popped up in the screen. Yes, the wife of the man who has trashed the Constitution, murdered American citizens without proof of guilt, trial or a jury.

The was the wife of the same man whose administration has expanded the police state, the administration who is now occupying countries all of Africa and the Middle East, has launched countless wars without any moral or legal basis and the same administration which has done nothing about the Bush administration war crimes. There she was, presenting the award for ‘Best Picture’ telling the audience about the importance of overcoming obstacles and conveying a positive message to the audience hoping that, (consistent with her husband’s administrations policy of ‘Do as I say not as I do’) the audience would just emotionally attach themselves to the messenger, and judge her and her husband strictly by her words. This may be very difficult for supporters of the current administration to wrap their heads around, but this was a classic display of Hitler-style propaganda. This is exactly the tactic dictators of the past have used to manipulate public opinion about the leader by appealing to their emotions. Once again Hollywood is fully exposed for being one of the prime mouthpieces of the U.S. Government. For anyone even mildly awake, this was no coincidence; this was classic real-time garbage propaganda for your mind.

Coming to a Theater near You: Palestinian Propaganda - Andrew E. Harrod, American Thinker: The Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development (JF), a Palestinian-American non-profit organization, screened the film Where Should the Birds Fly on February 14, 2013, at the JF's Palestine Center across from the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Filmed by Gaza Strip native Fida Qishta, who was present for the screening (Qishta appears here with hijab, although she was unveiled at the screening), the movie website describes the film as a "visual documentation of the Goldstone Report" concerning the month-long Israeli military operation Cast Lead against Hamas begun on December 27, 2008.  Like its discredited print counterpart, Where Should the Birds Fly is a biased document showing an innocent Palestinian population victimized by an aggressive Israel.  Promotional material available before the film screening sets the tone.  The plight of Gaza's residents is part of the "bitter history of man's inhumanity to man," including the "fierce resistance of the Warsaw Ghetto" mounted by Jews in April 1943 facing Nazi extermination.  Gaza is the "world's largest prison camp, sealed off on all sides by Israeli and Egyptian walls, barbed wire, and military." The film ultimately amounts to a series of vignettes of Palestinians wanting to go about their lives who are attacked by Israel for no apparent reason. This movie's propaganda should raise concerns among objective observers of the Middle East. Such concerns should include questions about how accurate can be any film produced under the totalitarian control of Palestinian groups like Hamas with a history of distorting media coverage (e.g.,Pallywood).

Anti-Americanism: Who's to Blame - Curt Jones, American Diplomacy: For the Israeli leadership, traumatized by the Holocaust, the preservation of the Jewish sanctuary is an existential necessity. For the American leadership, operating in a special-interest democracy, the defense of the Jewish state is a political necessity. Both governments are oblivious to geopolitical reality: The Zionist system is incompatible with its environment. Six million Jews cannot determine the future of 350 million non-Jews. Zionist Israel is not a viable state; it survives in a permanent condition of war. “Power projection” is impotent against the dictates of geopolitical law. Washington needs to moderate its militarism. Israel needs fundamental reform, adaptive to its environment.

The 5 Most Baffling Tactics in the War on Terror - Scott Pearson, #5. Hiring Science Fiction Writers as Consultants #4. Creating Bomb-Sniffing Plants #3.

Combing Nursery Schools for Burgeoning Extremists #2. Trading Viagra for Cooperation with the CIA #1. Trolling Terrorist Message Boards. Image from article

Diplomacy by Distortion: Azeri propaganda shifts to Khojalu in wake of two publicity failures - Traditionally in February, Azerbaijan is using its diplomatic and propaganda machine to invite the world attention to the Armenian “atrocities” during the 1992-1994 war in Karabakh.

'Nuclear Zero' Offers Nothing Worth Having: The president not only wants to cut missiles, he also is neglecting a promised modernization program - Bob Corker and Jim Inhofe, Wall Street Journal: President Obama has repeatedly identified nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism as key dangers to the United States and its allies. His analysis is correct, but that cannot be said about the centerpiece of his response: declaring America's commitment to eliminate its own nuclear weapons on the way to a world of "nuclear zero."

Meanwhile, he has neglected to modernize the weapons that are essential to American security. Sen. Corker (R., Tenn.) is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Sen. Inhofe (R., Okla.) is the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Image from article

Secretary of State Scorecard: Work Done Not Miles Flown, Please - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: We sincerely hope that no one would attempt to nudge Secretary Kerry to top Condi’s miles, or Hillary’s number of countries visited or number of embassy meet and greet. That would not be original or terribly helpful to an institution that is consistently underfunded and unappreciated not just by the Congress but also by the American public. The real challenges for the 68th secretary of state do not require an airplane ride. The sooner his Seventh Floor recognizes that, the sooner they can develop a strategy for achievable goals during Secretary Kerry’s tenure and imprint his legacy on the institution.

Africa: Radio Propaganda and the Broadcasting of Hatred - Paul Carlucci, posted at Keith Somerville's analysis of radio propaganda answers a lot of questions about the 'what' hate propaganda is, but avoids many deeper and more interesting questions. What does hate sound like on the radio? It's not hard to intuit the answer. The notorious broadcasts of Rwanda's Radio-Télévision Libre de Milles Collines come quickly to mind, and although less toxic and deliberate, Kenya's vernacular stations aren't far behind, thanks to their much publicised role in that country's 2007 presidential election. BBC World Service veteran Keith Somerville delves into both case studies in his book Radio Propaganda and the Broadcasting of Hatred, which aims to form a definition of hate propaganda and broadcasting. To do that, Somerville first defines propaganda and traces its historical development. The birth of the word stems back to 1622, when Pope Gregory XV established the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, which busied itself with counter-spinning Martin Luther's persuasive Reformist rhetoric. In the Thirty Years War, precipitated in part from these religious divisions, propagandistic accounts of the enemy's atrocities were used to compel people into combat. Because few people could read, images were also produced to broaden the influence, but verbal messages were also delivered with greater uniformity. Propaganda became increasingly ubiquitous, and those in power deployed it to shape popular opinion on major events like the Napoleonic Wars, the American Civil War, the Boer War and the two World Wars. As newer technologies were introduced and literacy skills grew more common, the world's mental environment grew more cluttered with messaging. Radio, in particular, brought the whole concept of propaganda back to the preacher dynamic. Through radio, one speaker addressed an audience, regardless of its literacy skills, except now the audience had grown and the speaker could reach people in their homes, at work, or in the countryside.

He could convey his passion directly, with the electric charisma of his voice, and the audience could listen together, rather than as individuals reading a cumbersome text in solitude. Media continued to evolve and collide throughout our most recent history, but the most important distinction to note is that while some of the messages disseminated are benign, others are malignant, like the acid broadcasts of Nazi Germany. The constants of all propaganda are straightforward enough: The message has to be simple. It has to be repeated regularly. It can't be completely radical, but rather has to riff off some pre-existing sentiment. It works best when it's emotional, and it always intends to shape opinion and inspire action, even if that action is just the public's support for a government's policies. Hate propaganda involves all these tenets. The difference is in the type of incitement it inspires. A study like that might pose more compelling questions than simply what hate propaganda is. Questions such as: How does hate propaganda manifest in different historical contexts? How are hateful values absorbed by citizens who, once they become journalists, propagate them without overt guidance? And how does propaganda change shape when countries shift from repression to press freedom? We already know the 'what'. It's now the 'how' that needs more study. Image from

Arm Kids to Combat Propaganda: Teach Reason - the Fourth "R" - in the Classroom - Carmen Yarrusso, Truthout: Yarrusso proposes an essential new discipline: teaching children how to think, rather than what to think, so that they will be armed against the potentially deadly deluge of propaganda and deceit promulgated throughout society. At a bare minimum, our children must acquire skills in the "3 Rs" (reading, writing and 'rithmetic) to succeed in life.

Humanity is dangerously past due adding a fourth critical R to our children's curriculum - reason (actually something much broader than reason, which I call sound thinking, outlined below). Sound thinking skills are vital not only to the well-being of individuals, but also vital to the well-being (indeed, the very survival) of our species in this increasingly interdependent, complex and dangerous world. Our schools (and almost all of us) teach our children what to think instead of how to think - like giving them fish instead of teaching them how to fish. Image from article


"But that's what the English mean, isn't it, when they say, 'He was very philosophical about it'? They mean that someone stopped thinking about something."

--The American Anne Moore in St. Aubyn's Never Mind; cited in Jonathan Sachs, "Thin, but not too thin," The Times Literary Supplement (February 8, 2013), p. 7