Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 29-30 Public Diplomacy Review - censored by hotmail computers?

As has occurred in the recent past on several occasions, the Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review (this time the April 29-30 edition) apparently did not reach its hotmail subscribers via FeedBurner. On the other hand, this edition of the PDPBR reached Google email subscribers, as my own Google account illustrates.

Am quite puzzled why some PDPBRs are not delivered to hotmail subscribers,while to other subscribers are.  I wondered about this, I looked again at the April 29-30 PDPBR, and realized that the word "pedophile" was mentioned in it, by the brilliant author/diplomat Peter van Buren in the following entry:

War Toys for Kids: Back to the Future in Afghanistan - Peter van Buren, We Meant Well: Hit the Google with the search term “iraq giving toys to children” and you’ll come up with pages of photos.

And they are all the same: a U.S. service member dressed like a Space Marine handing over some plastic piece of junk to some kid. Sometimes one or both are smiling, often times not. The images feel more like some freakish form of pedophilia than even decent propagandaImage from entry

Could the pedo word be a no-no for hotmail junkmail computer commissars?

April 29-30

“Picasso is a painter, so am I; Picasso is a Spaniard, so am I; Picasso is a communist, neither am I.”

--Attributed to Salvador Dali; image from


White House State Department Russia Today John Kerry: Russia's Propaganda Channel Just Got A Journalism Lesson From The US State Department - Brett Logiurato, The State Department tried to take Kremlin-backed television network to journalism school Tuesday — and they brought in a former major magazine editor to do it. The media-centric melee began last week when Secretary of State John Kerry called Russia Today a 'propaganda bullhorn' for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia Today subsequently demanded an 'official response' from the State Department. That response came from Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel, the former managing editor of Time magazine, who wrote a blog post Tuesday accusing RT of a 'disinformation campaign.' Stengel used his background in journalism to break down his definitions of the differences between news, opinion, and propaganda. 'Propaganda is the deliberate dissemination of information that you know to be false or misleading in order to influence an audience,' Stengel wrote. ... Kerry, for his part, sent out a "must read" tweet:

); text-decoration: none;">John Kerry         @JohnKerry

Important read from U/S @Stengel - sets record straight on disinformation being spread about by 
See also, "Propaganda and Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Stengel: An Exchange."

U.S. Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy condemns Kremlin propaganda and ban on Voice of America in Russia, but VOA English News fails to report his comments - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel has published on the State Department Blog an opinion article condemning the Kremlin, and specifically Russia’s RT television/multimedia outlet, for engaging in propaganda, which he defined as 'the deliberate dissemination of information that you know to be false or misleading in order to influence an audience.' ... Even though Under Secretary Stengel

specifically mentioned the Voice of America in his article, VOA did not report his comments on its main English news website. Because no central VOA news report or news item was produced in English about his article, the vast majority of VOA language services also did not report on it. ... He should not feel too bad about his comments on the Kremlin’s propaganda being ignored by VOA English News. The Voice of America also ignored President Obama’s statements on the Holocaust Memorial Day, the Armenian Remembrance Day (1915 genocide), and the Canonization of Pope John XXIII and John Paul II. Previously, VOA also missed, was late in reporting, or provided only superficial coverage of numerous White House, State Department, and U.S. Congress statements and actions on Ukraine and Russia. The VOA news coverage has improved slightly due to relentless criticism from its own journalists and BBG Watch, but VOA still misses important news stories, especially after business hours in Washington and on weekends."  Uncaptioned image from entry

Original Mandela Autobiography Advocates Violence, Communism - Alex Newman, " [Harry Booyens, Ph.D. :][Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs] Richard Stengel, the current senior-level Obama official ... ‘massaged’ Mandela’s biography

‘to make it palatable to Americans and expunge Mandela's real convictions on and leadership in matters of Communism.’ Stengel, Booyens continued, ‘must have known full well those convictions would have sunk both the book and Mandela like a lead balloon. This gave the murderous live-human-torching ANC a ‘messianic’ figurehead and made them somehow acceptable to America.’ ‘Perhaps Stengel thought he was doing some or other great deed, but what he did was to legitimize a terrorist organization to Americans,’ Booyens continued, linking Stengel’s machinations to the overlooking of the U.S. government’s ‘correct’ designation of Mandela and the ANC as terrorists, where they remained until 2008.” Image from

Exclusive: New Bill Requires Voice of America to Toe U.S. Line - John Hudson, Foreign Policy: "A powerful pair of lawmakers in the House of Representatives have agreed on major legislation to overhaul Voice of America and other government-funded broadcasting outlets that could have implications for the broadcaster's editorial independence, Foreign Policy has learned. The new legislation tweaks the language of VOA's mission to explicitly outline the organization's role in supporting U.S. 'public diplomacy' and the 'policies' of the United States government, a move that would settle a long-running dispute within the federal government about whether VOA should function as a neutral news organization rather than a messaging tool of Washington.

'It is time for broad reforms; now more than ever, U.S. international broadcasts must be effective,' said Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a statement. The bill is the result of a year's worth of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans working hand-in-glove with their counterparts in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It has the support of the committee's most senior Democrat, New York Congressman Eliot Engel, and will get a vote on Wednesday in the committee. Corresponding bipartisan legislation is currently in the works in the Senate. Besides clarifying VOA's mission, the bill reorganizes the federal agency responsible for supervising U.S.-funded media outlets, the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Instead of being led by a group of part-time board members, the bill establishes a full-time, day-to-day agency head. It also consolidates Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Network -- other foreign-facing broadcast outlets -- into a single non-federal organization, and aims to save costs by downsizing the number of federal contractors at the outlets in the years to come. Uncaptioned image from entry

Reform bill would require Voice of America to trumpet US policy objectives -- report - "Members of the US House and Senate are working together to craft legislation that would reform US-government-funded broadcasting outlets like Voice of America. The bill would require the channels to 'support' US 'public diplomacy' and 'policy objectives.' Reform legislation in the House would change the language of Voice of America’s mission to demand adherence to US foreign policy directives, according to a report by Foreign Policy magazine, calling into question how much editorial independence Voice of America (VOA)

will have left. ... News of the reform bill comes days after the Sec. of State Kerry accused RT of being a state-sponsored 'propaganda bullhorn' that is 'deployed to promote President Putin’s fantasy about what is playing out on the ground' amid unrest in Ukraine. Furthermore, he said RT spends almost all its time 'propagandizing and distorting what is happening, or not happening, in Ukraine.' Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced Kerry’s latest comments about RT as 'uncivilized' and 'prosecutorial.' '[The West] was convinced for some time that it had a full monopoly on mass media,' said Lavrov in a statement. 'Russia Today has won a large audience in the US and Western Europe, not to mention in Latin America and the Arab world.'" Image from entry; see also (1) (2) (3) (4 -- scroll down link for item) (5).

New Bill Would Demand VOA Serve US Propaganda - John Glaser, "VOA has always been a propaganda outlet, broadly speaking, but it reportedly has taken an adversarial stance in some cases. ... Every government has some form of propaganda outlet. But the U.S.A. and the people within it have always thought of themselves as different. Propaganda is a dirty word and a filthy activity that only governments less divine than ours engage in. We are benevolent and good, which makes the need for self-serving and inaccurate propaganda obsolete. But if we have bipartisan legislation moving through Congress that explicitly calls for VOA and other U.S. funded news outlets to toe the fallacious government line, then perhaps we’ve lost even that level of pretense."

Social Media in Afghanistan Takes On Life of Its Own - Afghans have long been resistant to central authority — as the United States has found to its frustration — with Afghanistan divided along tribal, cultural, religious and linguistic lines. Its mountains and valleys have stood in the way of communications breakthroughs that have unified other societies. But a social media network initially financed by the United States is finding a way around those barriers. It is connecting millions of Afghans equipped with cellphones and other mobile devices, allowing an exchange of ideas that has never been possible in Afghanistan outside Kabul, the capital. Similar American-financed programs elsewhere have failed, most spectacularly in Cuba, but Afghanistan is considered one of the great success stories from the United States’ effort to counter extremists’ violent ideology with social media. In Afghanistan, the network has achieved far more, allowing Afghans access to information as never before, bolstering education efforts and encouraging political debate, Obama administration officials say. ... The United States spends millions of dollars a year on social media programs as part of efforts to promote democracy and better governance. Some programs operate openly, but others have not been publicly disclosed. Eileen O’Conner, deputy assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia and the senior director of communications and public diplomacy in the office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said Paywast was one of several media-related programs financed by the United States in Afghanistan." Image 

Macon Phillips: We need to talk about America - Russell Brown, "Macon Phillips has had quite a career path. He was director of strategy and communications at Blue State Digital, the web and communications firm that helped Barack Obama to the US Presidency in 2008 and was a key internet strategist for the campaign. He was then hired as the White House director of new media, where he had responsibility for first the Presidential transition and then for the operations of the website. Late last year, he was tapped by US Secretary of State John Kerry to head the Bureau of International Information Programs and tasked with the overhaul of America’s 'digital diplomacy' efforts. He’s speaking via live video stream at The Project, a seminar being held at AUT University on Wednesday and Thursday (tickets here). I spoke to him by phone last week and asked him a few questions … [Q and A follows] ... Phillips: The fundamental idea is that it’s not enough to talk to people anymore. You have to be able to have a conversation and that also includes listening and a healthy dose of empathy."

Young ASEAN Leaders Put Ideas into Action [scroll down link for item] - "More than 100 young Southeast Asian leaders aged 18 to 35 from ten ASEAN Member States attended the opening ceremony of the 'Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Generation-Ideas into Action' workshop held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last week. ... The workshop, funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by, is the inaugural training program under President Obama’s YSEALI. The opening ceremony was attended by U.S. Department of State Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel . ... More information on the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) can be found online at"

CNAS Report: American Influence in the Middle East - "In a Center for a New American Security policy brief, Dafna Hochman Rand asserts that the idea of declining U.S. influence in the Middle East  'is an oversimplification of the issue' and argues that U.S. policy has at times influenced the decisions of leaders in the Middle East and North Africa and at others it has not. She then writes about America’s four main positive policy tools, 'private diplomacy and persuasion, public diplomacy, civilian assistance in the form of economic support funds, and military assistance and training.' She explains that, while it is challenging to determine whether these forms of positive intervention are decisive in affecting outcomes, there is some evidence which demonstrates 'how these four positive levers are translating U.S. power into positive outcomes.'"

The Daily: Celebrity Diplomacy Still Trumps - Michael Ardaiolo, "Our round-up of news, notes, tips and tweets exhibiting

how public diplomacy affects the world each and every day." Uncaptioned image from entry

Araz Azimov: “Development of information environment has led to the creation of new opportunities for public diplomacy - Anakhanim Hidayatova, “Public diplomacy can not play a decisive role by itself and consequently much depends on Armenian leadership. This country should take measures and its leadership should express its readiness to reach strict decisions, Azerbaijan Deputy Prime Minister Araz Azimov told journalists, APA reports. 'Public diplomacy is a popular term. This diplomacy includes various methods and mechanisms. Development of information environment has led to the creation of new opportunities for public diplomacy', Azimov noted. The Deputy Minister regretfully emphasized that no pluralism on Karabakh issue is observed in Armenia."

Zardusht Alizadeh to attend two events along with Armenians - "Politician Zardusht Alizadeh will participate in an event to take place in Istanbul within the framework of 'Impact of the three states on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict' project implemented by Chairman of the Analytical Centre of Globalization and Regional Cooperation of Armenia, political scientist Stepan Grigorian with the support of Friedrich Ebert Foundation. ... Zardusht Alizadeh said the Constitution of Azerbaijan or any other laws do not forbid 'public diplomacy'. He also noted that he had played an active role in public diplomacy since 1989, when Karabakh War began, and that he had regularly been attending events in Russia, Georgia, and Armenia."

In praise of Malbec diplomacy - Andrés Federman, "[I]n terms of influencing, World Malbec Day is ideal. Addressing non-government but influential audiences has become vital.An embassy can spend hours in drafting and sending letters to editors in order to rebuke disagreeable press coverage. But, unless the rebuke has to do with very hard facts, it will be wasted time. However, a quiet 10-minute chat hosted by an ambassador, a councillor or a minister, while sipping good wine can do wonders in terms of changing perceptions. And it so happens that the interlocutors to be found in an event like this one are also attentive readers of  The Wall Street Journal, The Economist or the New York Times. ... In short: glasses up for the Malbec Brigade. Interest declared: the author is totally unrelated to the wine industry. But has a 20-year-long, love affair with public diplomacy."

The Negative Unintended Consequence in Public Diplomacy - Nicholas J. Cull, "In communication as in physics every action a reaction even if the complexity of environment makes it hard for us to tell whether it is what Isaac Newton so elegantly termed ‘an equal and opposite reaction.’ The task for scholars of public diplomacy is to build the active search for unintended consequences into the analysis of public diplomacy."

Azerbaijan: Treason and other charades: The arrest of a leading political activist is another sign the oil-rich country is nowhere near democracy - "Azerbaijan's leadership takes great pride in its achievements since the fall of the Soviet Union. The country's wealth stems from the millions of barrels of oil pumped daily through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. However, there is a hidden side to this fast modernising Muslim nation on the shores of the Caspian Sea, which touts itself as the 'European charm of the orient'. The arrest of Azerbaijani activist Leyla Yunus at Baku Haydar Aliyev Airport on April 28, has highlighted Azerbaijan's questionable record on press freedom and human rights.  ... Apart from her advocacy work, Yunus has also been involved in a number of cross-border initiatives with neighbouring Armenia ever since the ceasefire was signed between the two countries in 1994. The conflict, which erupted at the end of the 1980s, may have ended but tensions remain. As a result, a number of public figures and journalists have been engaged in what is now known as 'track two'

diplomacy or people-to-people diplomacy. Yunus and the Peace and Democracy Institute have spearheaded such efforts. Whether it was her advocacy work or her involvement in track two initiatives which resulted in Yunus' detention, it is not yet clear. However, in light of the recent arrest of another well-known public diplomacy advocate and respected journalist, Rauf Mirkadirov, it might well be the latter." Image from entry, with caption: Azerbaijan has been criticised by Human Rights Watch for its dubious election practises and ongoing violent crackdown on freedom of expression, writes Geybullayeva

Op-Ed: The Pope’s Anti-Semitic Plan for Jerusalem
[scroll down for item]- "For Israel, as with most states, the ability to assess diplomatic relations with a state that is lacking economic relations, cannot be quantifiable. Furthermore, since the Vatican is not a full member of any international organisation but only an observer and since official Vatican statements are phrased in extremely nuanced language, much public diplomacy amounts to interpreting papal statements. Thus, In order to understand this unique relationship, traditional parameters must be replaced with a framework that employs a totally different set of parameters."

Open Letter to Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs - "30 April 2014 The Honourable Ms Tanya Plibersek MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Commonwealth Government of Australia Dear Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs: ... I write to you on this occasion further to previous correspondence concerning next year's World Exposition at Milano Italy and Australia's representation there. ... Australia has a proud and long record of hosting and being represented at World Expositions . ... Already over 150 nations have committed to Milan, including the UK, USA, China, Japan, Korea - in fact most of our major trading partners and the developed and developing world. Australia's absence from Milan 2015 would be a major loss for our nation's trade and foreign affairs branding, in this decade's major cultural public diplomacy opportunity. ... Yours sincerely, John McGregor Founder Celebrate 88 Progressing Brisbane's World Expo 88 and Australia at World Expositions"

DANIDA brings comedy to Hifa - "The Hifa 2014 DANIDA comedy programme features high-profile regional and international comedy practitioners . ... 'One in three girls in Zimbabwe experience sexual violence before they turn 18. And almost half of all women in Zimbabwe experience either physical or sexual violence at some point in time in their lives. Addressing gender-based violence is, therefore, a key development priority and a human rights imperative. 'The engagement with Hifa is part of our renewed commitment and engagement towards Zimbabwe and its people as we respond to the challenge of gender-based violence in this country.

We believe the programme provides an innovative platform for public diplomacy, debate, and engagement on this serious issue,' said the head of mission at the Royal Danish embassy office Erik Brøgger Rasmussen. ... In a statement, Hifa said comedy had the power to make a contribution to the changing behaviours of and attitudes through satire, compelling social messages and commentary that challenges the status quo. 'The comedy programme is designed to engage with gender-based violence in a way that catalyses discussion, debate and motivates attitude change within the community. Comedy can be used to foster richer and more open conversations about social, political, economic and environmental challenges facing Zimbabweans, particularly gender-based violence,' said the statement." Image from, with caption: DANIDA brings comedy to Hifa

Danish queen's Nanking visit a crowning moment for China amid row with Japan: Despite Danish FM saying visit was non-political, queen's visit may encourage Beijing to place Nanjing on world leaders' itineraries as a mark against Japanese aggression - "China is expected to encourage more world leaders to visit the Nanking Massacre memorial after the Queen of Denmark’s landmark visit, which mainland analysts say may increase awareness about this period of Chinese history and Japan’s past military aggression. ... 'This visit sends out a good signal. I hope the world will have a better understanding of this history, to learn lessons from it,' former ambassador to London Ma Zhengang, who is now with the China Public Diplomacy Association, told The Beijing News."

Who Remain in the Past Will Have Ukraine’s Fate! - Dan Dima, "We hear from a while, if it happen to be heard, that Romanian diplomacy, I would add even Eastern European diplomacy, need pragmatism, mobility and versatility. Even here, in principle, I would agree, but I always wondered what binds our feet, what blinds us and how we can become more open minded in the diplomatic practice.

Like any declared and deeply passionate about diplomacy (public diplomacy, in my case) I could not resist to scroll thirsty 'the doctrinal source' of the science of Romania’s foreign relations management – 'Diplomacy, Schools and Institutions', work signed by Mircea Malita. If somebody will ask any Romanian diplomat today, maybe with very few exceptions, from the oldest and to youngest ones, they will tell you that 'Diplomacy – Schools and Institutions' is the bedside book for a career diplomat. ... An old system, an exaggerate formality diplomatic corps grafted in typology of Malita’s diplomacy as is described in that book appeared in 1970. Which makes Polish diplomacy different is the acceptance of additional diplomacy ( the new diplomacy practice, public diplomacy ) since the 90s when Poland made the first steps along the road of public diplomacy and on responsible management of foreign perception. ... Today the foreign public is one of the most important players in international affairs and in front of this player we cannot bring with a tightly kept secret counterpart , an conventional diplomat only because the conventional diplomatic speaker suffer from the perspective of credibility at the contact with civil public." Image from

InterExchange Foundation Announces Christianson Grantees for Spring 2014: Funding supports young Americans who are committed to helping solve important humanitarian issues around the world - "The InterExchange Foundation is pleased to announce the first three recipients of Christianson Grants in 2014. ... Ecuador [:] Lee B. began serving as a program coordinator for the Arajuno Road Project in Puyo, Ecuador, in February 2014. The Arajuno Road Project provides educational opportunities to 10 small schools in the rural Arajuno region of Ecuador. Lee combines her Spanish-language skills acquired during travel in Mexico, Argentina and Chile with her strong background in education as an English teacher for Ecuadorian children. Lee also works as a liaison with local school directors, assists English teacher volunteers from around the world and monitors and records class progress. 'Teaching English abroad can contribute to better cross-cultural understanding anywhere,' Lee says. 'I see my work as part community service and part public diplomacy. I cannot represent my entire country while I am abroad, but I can act with integrity, honesty, and an open mind to demonstrate the diversity of American opinion. ... Visit us at"

Yaba Tech’s Erg holds 3rd biennial conference on environmental issues -" Keynote speaker on the theme; Professor Anthony O. Nwafor, Professor of Law, University of Verda, South Africa, highlighted the need for soft power diplomacy by governments and organisations to achieve environmental growth. 'Of soft power, monetary, hard power and public diplomacy, the most peaceful diplomatic solution that would lead to reversal of environmental problems and appeasement of communities whose interests are not adequately factored or outrightly disregarded

in the course of corporate operations over the years, is soft power diplomacy.' Soft power approach would require coming together of the people, government and organisations in decision- making. Nwafor explained that 'soft power diplomacy is seen as the ability to attract and co-opt rather than to coerce, use force or give money, as a means of persuasion.'” Image from entry, with caption: From left: Mr. Godwin Ovioma, Mr Martins Nzekwe, Dr. Loretta Ofodile, Mr Banji Okesoto, Mr N.M.C Nwakanma, Mr Kayode Oluyo and Dr Funmi Doherty, members of ERG, Yaba Tech

Hungary [ -] Office of Public Administration and Justice [scroll down link for item] - "The Victims’ Unit of the Office of Public Administration and Justice in Hungary celebrated the European Day for Victims of Crime with a conference. Speakers included Sándor Pintér, Minister of Interior, David McKenna, president of Victim Support Europe, Monika Balatoni, the Minister of State for Public Diplomacy and Relations, József Hatala, ministerial commissioner of the National Council on Crime Prevention, Zoltán Kunfalvi, vice-president of the Office of Public Administration and Justice and Matthew McVarish, Scottish actor and ambassador of the organisation ‘Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse’. More information is available in English HERE (link).

Instant Issues to Feature Haroon Ullah - Cynthia Melcher, "Haroon K. Ullah currently serves on Secretary John Kerry’s Policy Planning Staff at the U.S. State Department, where he

focuses on public diplomacy and countering violent extremism. He grew up in a farming community." Ullah image from entry


Americans Want to Pull Back From World Stage, Poll Finds: Nearly Half Surveyed in WSJ/NBC Poll Back Anti—Interventionist Stance That Sweeps Across Party - Lines [subscription] - Americans in large numbers want the U.S. to reduce its role in world affairs even as a showdown with Russia over Ukraine preoccupies Washington, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. In a marked change from past decades, nearly half of those surveyed want the U.S. to be less active on the global stage, with fewer than one-fifth calling for more active engagement—an anti-interventionist current that sweeps across party lines.

War Toys for Kids: Back to the Future in Afghanistan - Peter van Buren, We Meant Well: Hit the Google with the search term “iraq giving toys to children” and you’ll come up with pages of photos.

And they are all the same: a U.S. service member dressed like a Space Marine handing over some plastic piece of junk to some kid. Sometimes one or both are smiling, often times not. The images feel more like some freakish form of pedophilia than even decent propaganda. Image from entry

InfoWar over Ukraine - from sad to ridiculous - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: In conflict situations and in cases

where there are dueling and parallel narratives, we have to be weary of anyone who claims to have "the truth" (and no, "patriotism" or Hollywood stereotypes should not be dictating our perceptions here...). Image from entry

Why Did Gunmen So Easily Take Over in Eastern Ukraine? Umm, Here’s Why [includes video] - Irena Chlupa, How have pro-Russian militants taken over city halls and police stations across eastern Ukraine with such surprising ease? Ukrainian journalist Valentyn Chernyavsky decided to test that question in his hometown, the provincial capital of Cherkasy, about 125 miles south of Kyiv. He donned the uniform of a Russian separatist militant, grabbed a (fake but realistic) AK-47 assault rifle and got a friend to drive him downtown to explore his chances of seizing power.

Kinder, Gentler Russian Propaganda Shifting to Disrupting Ukraine Election - Craig Mellow, Russia will almost surely keep up its psychological warfare and will probably try to spark some new local uprisings in the East immediately before election day.

Messages from Moscow: Don’t Trust. Definitely Verify - Patricia H Kushlis, Whirled View: A propaganda/disinformation blitz is only as effective as the lack of knowledge and gullibility of the intended recipients. The most effective antidotes are clear, rapid and credible refutation of whatever the content might be and a simple telling of the truth. Over and over and over again.

John Kerry’s Sad Circle to Deceit - John Parry, Secretary of State John Kerry is framing the Ukraine narrative to make the U.S. side – despite neo-Nazis overthrowing an elected president – the good guys and Russians the bad guys. But Kerry’s strident propaganda is a sad ending to a career that began as a truth-teller. The facts and context of the Ukrainian events have been forgotten or bowdlerized to such an extent that the American people are being systematically misled. Whenever the fuller context is mentioned, it is dismissed as “the Russian narrative.”

Another Sucessful American Propaganda Effort - Timothy Gatto, Russia needs a civil war or a confrontation in Ukraine like most people need cancer. There is nothing in it for them. They sell natural gas to Ukraine and I'm sure they don't want that income to stop. The provinces that are protesting against the people that pulled the coup in Kiev were given to Ukraine by Russia. Kerry is lying, Obama is lying and nobody seems to care.

Window on Eurasia: Would You Like Pelmeni with Your McShchi? - Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia: One of the more notorious if somewhat humorous aspects of high Stalinism was Moscow’s effort to claim that Russians invented baseball, the radio and other things that all too obviously came from abroad as part of a campaign to boost Soviet patriotism and undercut any positive feelings about the West.  Now, in an echo of this, Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed developing Russian “fastfud” on the basis of national cuisines, something that he suggested could “compete with McDonald’s,” help the Russian economy, and most important allow Russians to stand up to the West (

Promoting propaganda - One key element of global jihad is propaganda aimed at turning lies into truth and vice versa. Trained by the Soviets masters of this art, Arab-Muslim apparatchiks have taken it to a whole new level. Their success lies in their two-pronged self-portrayal as downtrodden victims of Western imperialism and as destined victors against the "infidels." Chief among these are the "Great Satan" (America) and the "Small Satan" (Israel). That Europe's response is to sell its soul to appease the beast is bad enough. But when the administration in Washington follows suit, the sense among the sane is that even science fiction couldn't do justice to the horror of it all.

Syria: Iran Propaganda “Insurgents Used Chemical Weapons Near Homs” - In a propaganda move echoing the attempt to shift blame from the Assad regime for last August’s mass killing with chemical weapons, Iranian media is accusing insurgents of using “poison gas” near Homs.

Royal tour of Australia is soft propaganda - David Marr, The royals are proving all over again how charming and durable they can be. All but the diehards agree the republic has to be forgotten for a few years: nothing until the Queen dies.

7 June: Propaganda in Wartime – where do we draw the line? The Index on Censorship Magazine Big Debate: Censorship and Propaganda in Wartime: where do we draw the line? - David Heinemann,
Join Index on Censorship Magazine at Leeds Big Bookend Festival to debate whether it is acceptable for governments and others to withhold information from the public during a conflict. Is it always unreasonable not to tell the public the whole truth? Is propaganda sometimes necessary? Maybe the USA wouldn’t have entered WWII without it… Does propaganda or censorship matter?

Why and when should we care? With Major Ric Cole (Former Royal Marines Commando and Infantry Officer), Dr Chris Paterson(author ‘War Reporters Under Threat: The United States and Media Freedom’), Chris Bond(Yorkshire Post and Legacies of War) and Rachael Jolley (Editor, Index on Censorship Magazine). When: Saturday 7th June, 12:30 – 13:45pm Where:  Leeds Central LibraryLS1 3AB. Image from entry

'Dinner with Goebbels' and the power of propaganda -  War requires self deception and someone is always there to provide it. In Red Sandcastle Theatre's production of "Dinner With Goebbels"

we get to spend time and share wine with modern history's most infamous purveyors of the cruelest commodity. The play, by psychiatrist and Physician Against War activist Mark Leith, gives us a short history of public relations (when you're doing it), otherwise known as propaganda (when it's a bad thing). Image from entry

What A Disembodied Finger In Jay Carney’s Photo Says About Media Propaganda - Soopermexican, In a profile of Press Secretary Jay Carney appearing in the magazine Washingtonian Mom, this photo of the loving family appears:

Cute, isn’t it? But, as savvy Twitter users noticed almost immediately, the picture is photoshopped, and not very well at that. The right side of the book case is a mirror image of the left, which poses a slight problem. A problem I like to call “disembodied finger of a child floating in air”! It’s a common photoshop mistake:

Now we’re used to Jay Carney giving us the finger, but to lop off his kid’s pinkie to prove a point is rather extreme.

Picasso’s Guernica: The Difference Between Art and Propaganda - Richard Bledsoe, Despite the heralding of Guernica as a triumph of political art, is that really the source of its haunting presence? Those who claim it as such bring external knowledge to the piece, being aware of the circumstances of its creation. There is nothing in that work that makes it specifically about the bombing of a Spanish town or the power struggles of the early 20th century. What ideological side is there to be chosen amongst those tumbling ghosts and stricken animals? The power of the piece has nothing to do with a particular time or viewpoint; the audience does not need to know anything about the Republic, the Condor Legion or white phosphorus to feel the horror. It tells a universal story of the tragic violence in life. There are important distinctions between art and propaganda.

Although both are forms of visual communication, their aims are completely different. Great art explores the mysteries of human experience. Propaganda seeks to influence an intellectual decision by stirring up obscuring clouds of emotionalism. Strong art reaches universal, shared experience by honestly presenting the results of self-exploration. Propaganda seeks to substitute that universal appeal with the presentation of ideology it assumes to be commonly held by all right-thinking people. But what if the audience doesn’t share the same convictions, or are indifferent to them? Then the art fails to connect, falls flat. The more blatantly political a work is, the smaller its audience will be. Our contemporary cultural institutions’ strident advocacy is big part of why the visual arts art are suffering such a crisis of relevance now. Guernica image from entry

This WWI propaganda poster has surprisingly good advice about your diet - Matthew Yglesias, I'm seeing a fair amount of enthusiasm on Crunchy Twitter for this 1917 poster from the United States Food Administration that serves as a welcome antidote to the conflicting and often politics-driven advice of the modern federal government:

Bernay's Propaganda (from Macedonia) at Lemp Arts Center Tonight [includes video] - Bernay's Propaganda comes from an alternate world

where Fugazi's Red Medicine is the most influential album of all time and post-punk bands outnumber punk bands. Plus, they flew here from Macedonia. Ghost Mice from Indiana is also on the bill, as well as local openers Little Big Bangs and Union Electric. Lots of reasons to go out on a Monday night.


--From: Donald Sterling's Girlfriend's Visor Game Is Already Legendary,


Via KC on Facebook


From, via AS on Facebook

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28

“When trying to ‘capture’ a small piece of food onto a utensil, it is acceptable to use another utensil for aiding it aboard. Never use your fingers.”

--From a selection of rules from the Buffalo Jills cheerleaders' handbook, as published on Deadspin; it includes an entire section titled “General hygiene and lady body maintenance”; cited in Catherine Rampell, "Pity the cheerleaders. Really," Washington Post;  see also James Staas, "Buffalo Jills suspend all activities," The Buffalo News; Jills image from


Joe Biden emerges as Obama's trusty sidekick - Susan Crabtree, "Vice President Joe Biden has become the public face of the administration's handling of Ukraine, working to reassure Kiev and trying to talk tough with Russia. During a whirlwind two-day visit to Ukraine, Biden met with the country's leaders and announced an additional $50 million in aid. At a press conference, he delivered a lecture to Russian President Vladimir Putin, telling him to 'stop talking and start acting' to defuse the crisis. ... [A]fter Biden left Ukraine, it seemed that nothing had changed. Tensions with Moscow remain high, and Russian militants show no signs of backing down in eastern Ukraine. But Biden's raising of the American flag in Kiev wasn't without benefit for President Obama, who was able to carry on with a week-long trip to Asia. And Biden's public diplomacy revealed Obama's new trust in his No. 2. 'So Biden talks a lot -- so what?' said James Goldgeier, dean of American University's School of International Service and a veteran of the Clinton White House's national security team. “The vice president has been extremely valuable to Obama --he's done everything the president could have asked for and more.”

Smart diplomacy vs. dumb diplomacy: Column - Lionel Beehner, "Our dependence on covert forms of public diplomacy can feel like an admission that our normal diplomacy has failed (see the past five decades of U.S.-Cuban relations). It also implies we can do diplomacy on the cheap and painless. There is this dogma within the U.S. government that throwing a few million dollars at social media programs can topple nasty regimes - just look at Tunisia or Egypt. That the new undersecretary for public diplomacy at the State Department, Richard Stengel, was the managing editor of Time when the magazine declared its 2006 Person of the Year was ‘You’ - implying the tweeting masses - does not bode well for reform. ‘The State Department's fascination with social media reflects a view that its job is to speak over the heads of governments, or under their heads, or something,’ as Laurence Pope, a former ambassador, put it in a recent interview. ‘That is a dangerous illusion.’ ... With a new kind of Cold War with Russia, there are renewed calls for revitalizing public diplomacy.

One ambassador, Brian Carlson, proposed grants for Ukrainians to study politics here and call them ‘Putin Scholarships.’ Instead the U.S. government has busied itself with online trolling and tweeting Buzzfeed-like listicles such as ‘President Putin's Fiction: 10 False Claims about Ukraine.’ It's not that we should do away with public diplomacy or even that we should do away with covert public diplomacy, but rather we should do away with dumb public diplomacy, especially one enraptured by the magic of tweeting ambassadors and other quick technological fixes. Image from entry, with caption: It's true we need to think outside the box when it comes to diplomacy. But funding a Twitter-like service in Cuba?

‘#Hashtag for our time’: Merciless mockery of State Department’s impotent hashtag diplomacy [Photoshops] - Sample satirical images and twitter messages, among them:

The #PromiseofHashtag Ignites the Net, and the State Dept Spox Gets Roasted – Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "Maybe State is willing to be mocked online as long as it gets people

View image on Twitter

*archivephoto* RT @jbarro: It's like Theodore Roosevelt said: Speak softly and carry a big hashtag.

talking about #UnitedforUkraine?" Image from entry

Major reform of U.S. international broadcasting and public diplomacy to be proposed in Congress - BBG Watcher, BBG Watch: "BBG Watch has learned that a draft bill originating in the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which has U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) as Chairman and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) as Ranking Member, would, if passed by Congress and signed by the President, radically reform the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an agency currently in charge of U.S. international media outreach. The United States International Broadcasting Act of 1994 (22 U.S.C. 6201 et seq.; title III of Public Law 103–236) would be repealed under this draft bill if it were to become law. The draft bill appears to be a bipartisan effort to address problems in how the part-time Broadcasting Board of Governors manages U.S. international media outreach through its large, expanding and highly dysfunctional International Broadcasting (IBB) bureaucracy. Lawmakers also appear to want to address serious management issues at the Voice of America (VOA). They also want to improve U.S. public diplomacy. To be known as he the 'United States International Communications Reform Act of 2014,' the draft bill calls for the creation of the United States International Communications Agency within the executive branch of Government as an independent establishment. It also calls for creating the Advisory Board of the United States International Communications Agency. According to the proposed legislation, current BBG members would serve out their terms of office on the new board, which in contrast to the current board would have mostly advisory functions. The draft bill also calls for having a Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Communications Agency, appointed for a five-year term and renewable at the Board’s discretion. The CEO would exercise broad executive powers. The draft bill also calls for the creation of the Consolidated Grantee Organization, for the non-federal grantees of the BBG: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN). RFE/RL, RFA, and MBN would be consolidated and reconstituted under a single organizational structure and management framework."

U.S. Consulate General Mumbai Small Grants Program - "The U.S. Consulate General Mumbai is holding a small grants competition to fund programs that promote Indo-U.S. relations. The programs must occur in western India (the states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and/or Maharashtra). Proposals can include, but are not limited to, projects, seminars, conferences, workshops, exhibitions and outreach campaigns. Proposals must focus on one of the following three priority areas of the U.S. Mission to India: Promote better Indo-U.S. bilateral relations, with an emphasis on business ties [;] Encourage regional and global roles for India [;] Enhance security cooperation ... This competition is open only to individuals, non-governmental organizations, public education institutions, and other legally-recognized non-profit institutions that meet Indian and/or U.S. technical and legal requirements to develop and implement public diplomacy programs."

Nixon, Kissinger and Bangladesh: Blood on Their Hands - "30 March 2014. A World to Win News Service. By Susannah York. The Blood Telegram – Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide (Alfred Knopf, 2013) by Princeton University professor Gary J. Bass unearths the sinister role played by then President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

in 1971 during Pakistan's nine-month slaughter of Bengali people in what was then East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. ... When East Pakistani refugees fleeing the massacres started pouring over the Indian border, Indira Gandhi tried to seize the moral high ground. Her government spoke emotionally about the millions of refugees. But privately it worried that the exiles might be revolutionaries and might not return to their own country. Among many in her government there was a clamour for war. Publicly Gandhi claimed India had no intention to go to war, but began training those East Pakistanis who wanted to take up arms – the Mukti Bahini (Liberation Army), initially under Indian leadership but eventually breaking out of its clutches. When she asked her generals how long it would take for the Indian army to be ready for war, they replied six months and began preparations. Public diplomacy and much covert arm-twisting and threats took place between the U.S. and India. Both insisted that they were giving no support to the two sides in the war but behind the scenes they were not only preparing for all-out war between India and Pakistan but also trying to draw in China and the Soviet Union to take part on their respective sides." Image from

US, China must strengthen trust to tackle problems - "American and Chinese economies and societies have never been as closely joined as they are today, but strengthening trust between the two countries is essential to tackle big problems, said a report. The report entitled 'Building US-China Trust: Through Next Generation People, Platforms and Programmes' is a joint project by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and the School of International Studies of Peking University, reported Xinhua. 'Major differences between the two countries dominate the headlines and polls show that people in the two countries have less respect for and trust in the other country,' said the report. ... The document said there is a need to adapt to changes associated with China's rapid economic rise, the different histories, values, and political systems of the US and China. There is 'much energy and attention focused on official Washington-Beijing based talks and too little financial support for and focus on people-to-people engagement,' it said. The report recommends that both countries encourage and support 'Next Generation Public Diplomacy' to strengthen their ties. Based on the findings that majorities of Americans and Chinese see the other country in a negative light while, half of those under age 30 have a favourable impression of the other country, it proposed encouraging and funding young students to go to the other country to study as one effective way. 'We are confident that involving more people in substantive exchanges and publicizing both the process and the outcomes of such collaborations will greatly enhance understanding and increase trust,' it said."

The lessons to be learnt from the London attacks - Ayesha Almazroui," Emirati society has been deeply shocked by the two recent attacks in London – first, when three Emirati sisters were attacked in their hotel room by a man with a hammer (one is still in a critical condition) and second, after an Emirati family was threatened at gunpoint in their flat by a seven-member gang, who also stole money, jewellery and credit cards. ...While we all agree that the two incidents are horrific and strenuous efforts should be exerted to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, there are, perhaps, a few lessons to be learnt here for Emiratis when they next travel overseas. Because of the relatively safe environment that is the UAE, we tend to forget to take appropriate precautions when we travel. A diplomat from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke to a public diplomacy class I attended recently about the important role citizens play when travelling overseas. He told us that UAE embassies receive regular complaints from Emiratis who get robbed in countries around the world, especially in Europe.

This made me think about the way many people from the UAE or other Gulf countries dress when travelling abroad and how their clothes can attract attention. I’ve seen it in London and other places. People from this country and other Gulf states wearing high-end clothes, watches, shoes and bags that can make them an easy target for opportunistic thieves. Even so, these two recent incidents could have happened in any country, since no place in the world is absolutely safe. The lesson here is that we need to be street smart on our travels – know the neighbourhoods we’re staying in, dress to blend in and stay alert to potential trouble spots. We also need to make sure we follow police guidelines inside hotels. We need to avoid leaving valuables unattended in hotel rooms, and make sure doors are locked. We should also remember that hotel lobbies and reception areas are open to the public and avoid leaving bags or valuables unattended. Unfortunately, I know that not many Emiratis keep that in mind while travelling abroad." Image from, with caption: Dubai: Two Emirati women are set to make aeronautical history as they prepare to become the first female UAE national pilots to take to the skies.

Claims of Isolationism on Foreign Policy Is Only Rhetoric, Says Haşimi: Daily Sabah spoke to the head of the Public Diplomacy Coordination Office Cemalettin Haşimi about PM Erdoğan's statement offering condolences to Armenians and criticism that Turkey's foreign policy will isolate the country - Ali Ünal, "The international community did not anticipate Prime Minister Erdoğan's message of condolences regarding the Armenian deportations.

To discuss the next developments and the perception of Turkey to the outside world, Daily Sabah sat down with Cemalettin Haşimi." Uncaptioned image from entry

The 11th Annual Conference of European Association of Taiwan Studies - Conference Venue: University of Portsmouth, UK.

Conference Date: 30 April–2 May 2014 Conference Major Theme: ‘Taiwan: Self vs. Other’ Other themes: ... 4. Public diplomacy[.]"

Coming of Faith: Stories of Faith from Muslim American Women -  "Soraya Ahyaudin is on her journey for a second Masters in Public Diplomacy at University of Southern California.

She is a bookworm at heart, with a love for sci-fi and romance. She spends her days looking for the answer in understanding the million dollar question, why can’t we all just get along, through the world of culture where all our differences makes us connected." Ahyaudin image from entry


The War on Truth in Ukraine - Keith A. Darden, An absence of legitimate authority in eastern Ukraine has left an absence of transparent, agreed-upon facts -- a breeding ground for suspicion and manipulative diplomatic games on the margins of the truth that may yet carry the region to war. The elusiveness of truth

is a symptom and an accelerant of Ukraine’s descent into uncertainty. Legitimate authority -- governmental, factual, legal, moral -- is unrelentingly being effaced, and with it the chances of a peaceful outcome. Image from

Russia to Benefit From 'Gratuitous Propaganda' of Fresh US Sanctions - Lyudmila Chernova, A new round of sanctions announced by the White House will have unintended consequences and only benefit Russia, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts told RIA Novosti Monday. “The sanctions are nothing but gratuitous propaganda. Obama himself acknowledged that it is uncertain whether the additional sanctions will have any effect,” Roberts told RIA Novosti. “Besides, the sanctions will encourage and hasten Russia’s withdrawal from Washington’s exploitative system, and the BRICS countries are likely to follow.”

Putin’s Useful Idiots - Slawomir Sierakowski, New York Times: The irony is that by standing beside Russia and pointing fingers at fascist phantoms in Ukraine, Western intellectuals are aligning themselves not just with the autocrat in the Kremlin, but the legions of far-right parties across Europe that have come to Russia’s defense. Who says Russia needs propaganda? It already has its useful idiots.

Russian propaganda campaign finds fertile ground in Ukrainians’ mixed identity - Matthew Schofield, The Russian narrative, that Kiev is run by thugs and fascists, is

repeated often not only by Russian separatists who have seized government buildings and demanded a vote on whether eastern regions should secede and join Russia, but by many everyday citizens who have no interest in secession, but don’t believe they can trust their own government. The lack of trust was aggravated by the Ukrainian parliament’s quick approval of a bill that would downgrade Russian’s status as an official language. The bill hasn’t become law, but it is frequently mentioned by Russian critics of the interim government in Kiev. Image from

Noose tightening on Internet freedom in Russia - In Russia, authorities in Moscow are putting in place a number of measures that, if the Internet is currently a CIA project, seem destined to rest executive control eastwards, making Russian prosecutors and Russia’s latter-day KGB, the Federal Security Service, the ultimate arbiters of what Russians can and cannot read, write or say online. It’s been a bad week for Internet freedom in Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin set the mood music when asked about the Internet at a media forum in St. Petersburg. Putin described the Internet as a "CIA project," developed in the US. The Russian president went on to say the Internet "is still developing as such." As a consequence, said Putin, Russia needs to "fight for its interests online." Via HS on Facebook.

How Wash. Post, NY Times inject Palestinian propaganda in 'news' dispatches - Readers of the Washington Post and New York Times beware when reading “news” dispatches from Jerusalem and Ramallah. Headlines and lead paragraphs reflect a decided Palestinian bent. Only if you dig deeper into such articles does it become apparent that messages conveyed at the top just ain’t so. All too often, subsequent qualifiers and outright corrections come too late, if at all.

Welcome to the Memory Hole: Disappearing Snowden - Peter van Buren, We Meant Well: What if every National Security Agency (NSA) document Snowden released, every interview he gave, every documented trace of a national security state careening out of control could be made to disappear in real-time? What if the very posting of such revelations could be turned into a fruitless, record-less endeavor? Am I suggesting the plot for a novel by some twenty-first century George Orwell?

Hardly. As we edge toward a fully digital world, such things may soon be possible, not in science fiction but in our world — and at the push of a button. In fact, the earliest prototypes of a new kind of “disappearance” are already being tested. We are closer to a shocking, dystopian reality that might once have been the stuff of futuristic novels than we imagine. Welcome to the memory hole. Image from

This Zombie Propaganda is the Best Thing I’ve Seen All Day - Adam Dodd, When the zombies inevitably come, we’ll need soldiers. And thanks to amazing artists like Ron Guyatt, who made this trio of fantastic zombie propaganda posters, I don’t think we’ll have much trouble finding volunteers.

One look at these posters and I’m dual wielding kitchen knives in each hand, ready to stab some ghouls in their stupid ugly faces. How about you?


--Via FW on Facebook