Monday, June 30, 2014

June 29-30

"[...]tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne pas savoir demeurer en repos dans une chambre."

--Pascal; image from


Special VOA Newscast on PCJ Radio Int.  [satirical]- "As you might be aware the Broadcasting Board of Governors have taken the very wise decision to end all Radio Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and VOA English broadcasts. On June 29, 2014 at 1230UTC PCJ Radio International broadcast a Voice of America newscast that the VOA management pulled from it's [sic] schedule.

It includes the spokesperson for the Broadcasting Board of Governors and an interview with David Ensor the director of the Voice of America. MP3 Studio Version (Right click to download) Off air recording." Via TL on Facebook, Image from


Systemic political lying - "Today, we offer two comments on lying, spin and propaganda, the first from politician scientist Sheldon Wolin, the second from investigative reporter Robert Parry. ... Parry paints a portrait of a practitioner of the form, Richard Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy. Perhaps viewers of 'Morning Joe' will remember 'Rick' when he was a top Time Magazine editor presenting the Time cover of the week. Butter doesn't melt in Stengel's mouth. ... [Parry:] The U.S. State Department, which has been caught promoting a series of false or dubious stories about Ukraine, is trying to give some substance to Secretary of State John Kerry’s counter-complaint that Russia’s RT network is a 'propaganda bullhorn' promoting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 'fantasy.' In a 'Dipnote' of April 29, Richard Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy, made some broad-brush criticisms of RT’s content – accusing the network of painting 'a dangerous and false picture of Ukraine’s legitimate government' by citing examples of fascism, anti- and terrorism surrounding the Kiev regime.

Stengel claims he knows the difference between news and propaganda because he spent seven years as managing editor of Time. He defines propaganda as 'the deliberate dissemination of information that you know to be false or misleading in order to influence an audience' and asserts: 'RT is a distortion machine, not a news organization.' But Stengel offers no specific citations of the supposedly propagandistic stories done by RT, making it impossible to ascertain the precise wording or context of the RT content that he is criticizing. One basic rule of journalism is 'show, don’t tell,' but Stengel apparently didn’t learn that during his seven years in the top echelon of Time magazine. Nevertheless, Stengel accuses RT of 'disinformation' ranging from 'assertions that peaceful protesters hired snipers to repeated allegations that Kiev is beset by violence, fascism and anti-Semitism, these are lies falsely presented as news.'” Image from

Social Media: How Twitter is making diplomacy more open and public -- Twitter is changing how diplomats interact and influencing how we see global leaders. From embarrassing tweets and international spats, the public is getting to see a different side of diplomacy, says a new study - "For politicians, Twitter has become a ‘very powerful channel to broadcast messages,’ says Matthias Lüfkens, author of the ‘Twiplomacy Study 2014,’ which examines how foreign ministers, their offices and heads of state are using the social networking and microblogging service. ‘It has become an indispensable channel for digital diplomacy,’ he adds.

Barack Obama ✔ @BarackObama
Four more years.
11:16 PM - 6 Nov 2012

US President Obama, Twitter's most ‘popular’ leader, has more than 48 million followers. He was one of the world's first leaders to join the social network in 2008, and since then, many more leaders have jumped on the bandwagon. More than two-thirds of heads of state and government in the world are on Twitter, according to the Twiplomacy study. ... The growth of diplomacy via social networks like Twitter allows the public to get a better view of how diplomats interact with each other - via mentions, retweets and replies. ... But it doesn't mean the public will be getting tweeted updates from their private meetings and negotiations, says Lüfkens. 'It just makes [diplomacy] more public, more visible and more accessible for us,' he says. But not everyone is so enthusiastic about that. 'It's a problem for heads of communication if the foreign minister tweets without consulting their staff,' Lüfkens says. And that can lead to an international spat. ... It can be embarrassing to have to admit that you were wrong in public, but it is probably worse if you are a high-level diplomat. But whether it's international friendship or a public spat, diplomats on Twitter are allowing the public to see their interactions in a different light."

Entry from June 26, 2014 Twiplomacy (Twitter + diplomacy) - "Twitter Joel Whitaker ‏@joelwhitaker I hereby invent 'Twiplomacy' =Twitter as public diplomacy tool. Google backup: 5:18 PM - 10 Jan 2009"

Needs more hashtag: State Department announces expansion of social media campaign against terrorism - Blake Seitz, "As conflict in the Middle East intensifies, the U.S. State Department is sticking to what it knows best: hashtag activism.

The State Department announced Wednesday that it will expand efforts to counter Islamist terrorist groups on social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube. It will spend $575,046 on a 6-month contract to JTG, Inc., a Virginia-based company that researches extremist websites and tests pilot content to persuade terrorist sympathizers to disavow violence. This contract is part of a larger social media campaign called Think Again Turn Away, which seeks to reach English-speaking individuals who are in the 'antechamber of al Qaeda' -- those who may, but have not yet, taken up arms for jihad. The campaign is run by the State Department's Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, an agency created by an executive order in 2011. It commands a budget of $5 million." Via ACP on Facebook. Image from

Department of State Public Schedule June 27, 2014 - posted at UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS RICHARD STENGEL 3:30 p.m. Under Secretary Stengel

participates in a reception and discussion on leadership for J-1 Exchange Visitors, at the U.S. Mission to the UN. Image from

US losing the broadcasting wars  - MCT, "Congress is taking baby steps to catch up and harness the public diplomacy power of America’s international broadcasters, but a future where Western values and interests predominate will also depend greatly on the survival and success of American private journalistic institutions. That outcome is far from assured. In the meantime, China and Russia are investing heavily to win the information war and they are doing it right in front of our eyes."

IBB ends long-term partnerships with rebroadcasters in two-sentence emails and no thank you - BBG Watch commentary: "Officials of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) in Washington are ending long-term partnerships with rebroadcasters of programs sponsored by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) with a two sentence, impersonal emails without any thank-you for years of loyal contracting service to the U.S. government.

These foreign broadcasters have been rebroadcasting Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) programs and often took risks vis-a-vis their governments and regulatory agencies to provide this service for American taxpayers. These terse cancelation emails were sent out by IBB because of IBB-initiated major cuts to BBG shortwave and medium wave transmissions to Asia, Middle East, and Belarus, many of which are to take effect on June 30. IBB emails do not include any thank-yous for years of excellent rebroadcasting services." Image from entry

WhiteWashing A Dilapidated Building: A Nigerian Story - ini Etok, "In order to whitewash its inept handling of the kidnap of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has awarded a N195 million ($1.2 million) contract to U.S. Public Relations and lobby firm, Levick, to help change 'international and local media narrative' surrounding its efforts to rescue the girls, Washington DC based newspaper, The Hill, is reporting.

On Wednesday, the U.S. government told Nigerians to hold the government accountable for the failure to rescue the girls more than two months after they were kidnapped. Details contained in the contract document obtained by The Hill show that the firm will also be 'assisting the government’s efforts to mobilize international support in fighting Boko Haram as part of the greater war on terror'. The firm also promised to assist the government in effecting 'real change' in the country. 'A more comprehensive approach using vehicles such as public diplomacy and engaging outside experts to enact real changes is how the advocacy industry is evolving,' Phil Elwood, a Vice President at Levick, told The Hill. 'A communications strategy alone is not enough to solve the complex and multifaceted problems facing some of the more controversial nations.'” Uncaptioned image from entry

Anti-Americanism rampant, fringe conspiracy theories take hold in Russia: Feelings drive rising popularity of Putin, poll shows: Marc Bennetts - The Washington Times: "An opinion poll published this month by the independent Moscow-based Levada Center indicated that just over 70 percent of Russians currently view the United States in a negative light — the highest figure since the collapse of the Soviet Union. About the same percentage of respondents described U.S. policy toward Russia as 'hostile.' ... This explosion in anti-U.S. sentiments has its roots in the unprecedented protests against Mr. Putin’s long rule, which broke out in late 2011 and continued through 2012.

As demonstrators filled the streets of central Moscow, Mr. Putin alleged that then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had 'given a signal' to opposition figures. State television claimed the protesters were being paid 'cookies and cash' by the State Department to attend anti-Putin rallies. The controversial appointment of Michael McFaul, a Stanford University professor and author of 'Russia’s Unfinished Revolution,' as U.S. ambassador to Moscow just weeks later raised tensions to near fever pitch. ... Meanwhile, U.S. expatriates in Moscow say that while there has been no sign that anti-Americanism is about to turn violent, they have noticed a definite hardening of attitudes. ... Still, the Kremlin’s policy of demonizing the United States could come back to haunt Putin, says Belkovsky, the analyst [Stanislav Belkovsky, a political analyst who is head of the Moscow-based National Strategy Institute]." Image from entry, with caption: Russian President Vladimir Putin enters the Alexander Hall to attend a ceremony of presentation of credentials by foreign ambassadors in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Friday, June 27, 2014.

Business groups and scientists need to see the larger picture on Russia - Editorial, Washington Post: "We were also disturbed to read an editorial in this week’s Science magazine calling on scientists to 'lead a reversal' in deteriorating relations with Russia. Certainly, scientists played an important role in bridging the gap during the Cold War. But then, as now, science diplomacy cannot be isolated from politics. If scientists are to play such a role, they must carry the message to Russia that its behavior matters in the same way that nuclear physicist Andrei Sakharov challenged the authorities as a voice of conscience in Soviet times."

Russian Power - Soft, not Hard - in Ukraine? - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: "Yes, there is a strong military -- i.e. 'hard power' -- aspect to Russia's involvement in the current conflict in Ukraine. However, had it not been for a solid 'presence' of Russian soft power in the country -- even if we assume that it's been limited to its Eastern regions -- none of this would be possible. I don't like the term 'smart power', not only because it's even more conceptually shallow and unspecified than 'soft power', but also because it does not account for the various proportions of the

'hard' and 'soft' powers supposedly constituting it. That said, it might be the best 'Western' term to describe what is currently happening regarding Russian public diplomacy and soft power, particularly in its near abroad. On the other hand, as we know, even soft power is rarely entirely 'soft', so clear black-and-white separations are most certainly bound to be overly simplified." Image from entry, with caption: Original image from Valdai Club

History book on Ukrainian Neonazism released in Belgium - "A presentation of a book investigating the bloody events in Kiev, that resulted in an armed power shift in Ukraine and started in February this year, took place in Belgium today. The title of the book is 'Neonazis and Euromaidan: From Democracy to Dictatorship'. Its authors are political analyst of the CIS-EMO international organisation for elections observation Stanislav Byshok and the president of the Public Diplomacy Foundation Alexey Kochetkov. They submitted their book at a seminar of members of communist parties held in the Belgian town of Louvain-la-Neuve near Brussels."

Is Chinese Propaganda Invading Our Schools? | China Uncensored - Epoch Times: "The Confucius Institute’s presence can be found at many universities in the United States and other countries. Sure, the Confucius Institute sounds like a harmless language program being offered at your university. But it’s also been accused by a U.S. House foreign affairs committee of engaging in industrial and military espionage, has been called 'an important part of China’s overseas propaganda setup,' by the former head of China’s Propaganda Department, and is controlled by Chinese embassies and consulates.

China has spent over $10 billion in four years on the Institute. The Toronto District School Board in Canada almost got its very own Confucius Institute—until a massive outcry by parents unleashed a storm of protest, revealed some very shady dealings, and may have lead to the sudden retirement of Chris Bolton, the TDSB chair. Most of the trustees at the school board didn’t really understand what the institute was about. An informed parent alerted the board and other parents about it. It wasn’t even on the agenda to discuss in a board meeting originally, but after the concerns were raised, they talked about it for two hours. The communist propaganda is not always veiled in the language classes offered at the Confucius Institute. Lyrics of a song used in the classes read, 'Our mighty leader Chairman Mao, leading us all forward!'" Uncaptioned image from entry

China’s Taiwan Experiment - Brett Daniel Shehadey, In Homeland Security: "Taiwan’s prideful democracy and growing economy receives 3 million mainland Chinese tourists. What is often called a 'charm offensive' by Beijing towards Taipei is a little more complicated than that. It is really economic enticement, but certainly there are elements of 'charm' observed in positive spinning public diplomacy and overall programs utilizing greater attractive power. Moreover there is also a concern at this point that China plays a large stake in Taiwan’s dependent gross domestic product; wher[e]as China is not threatened with the loss of such trade relationship."

Through a Lens Darkly (24): Captured Chinese Swords and Traditional Weapons - "It is not uncommon to find postcards of 'Chinese life' mailed in the 1940s that show images of China from before the 1911 revolution. The persistent yearning for an 'oriental' and eternal China is portrayed in many of these images. The inexpensive and widespread nature of the medium also made postcards a useful tool of public diplomacy and educational propaganda. The Japanese, in particular, produced large numbers of postcards that featured scenes of daily military training and camp life to be sent back to the families of soldiers in the mainland. Other 'educational' images seem to have been produced with the soldiers themselves in mind.

These might carry useful bits of information, or show something about the forces that they were engaged with. The two postcards that we will be examining today, both taken from longer series, seem to fall into this category." Image from entry, with caption: A postcard showing Chinese weapons captured by the Japanese in Manchuria during WWII.

Pt. 2. Why Anthropologists Must Boycott: Israeli Attacks on Academic Freedom - "Increasingly, Israeli academic institutions are also mobilizing to justify Israeli violations of human rights to the world. During the 2009 Gaza war, the Herzilya’s Interdisciplinary Center in close coordination with Israel’s foreign ministry set up a 'war room' in order to defend Israel’s military actions on the internet. Since the war’s conclusion, these programs have become more widespread.

Today, students at Tel Aviv, Ariel, and Haifa Universities can receive credits for taking courses in hasbara, learning slick social media strategies designed to justify the Israeli military occupation under the guise of 'public diplomacy.'” Image from

Cabinet Approves 300 Million NIS for Development of Jerusalem: Program aimed at curbing violence in eastern Jerusalem - Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency: "[I]n recent years there has been a sharp increase in acts of violence and stone-throwing in the eastern part of the city. ... These displays of violence are being perpetrated in the capital of the State of Israel, close to the holiest sites of the three major faiths, which have considerable tourist and public diplomacy significance and which draw pilgrims from around the world."

NCPO urgently needs better media relations - Kavi Chongkittavorn, "The latest move by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to micro-manage the traditional and new media after the May 22 power seizure could seriously tarnish or even paralyse the NCPO's public diplomacy within Thailand and abroad. ... Thai media is colourful, dynamic and uneven. It is still the country's biggest asset. Spare it.

Given the NCPO's desire to transform Thailand into a truly democratic country, Thai media must continue to serve as an impartial watchdog as well as an agent and a platform for debate and public learning." Image from

Hyenas vs. Rhinos: Who could the NYT get to write an Op-ed on Iraq? Hmm… - Juan Cole, "5. John H. Brown , a career Foreign Service Officer, resigned from the State Department on March 12, 2003, to protest the plans to aggressively launch a war on Iraq. He went on to head a project and a newsletter on public diplomacy. Knowledgeable, experienced and worldly people like Brown who put their career and their lives on the line for principle deserve to be treated as 'wise men' and 'wise women' by the American press, rather than being consigned to obscurity

because they no longer are close to power." Image from

Communications Manager Job At The British High Commission - "Main elements of the job: Design and oversee a communications/public diplomacy strategy (including public advocacy campaigns) that helps to deliver HMG’s objectives in Ghana and the region. Engaging with HMG teams represented in Ghana, including DFID and the British Council, to project the UK in Ghana."


Blame The Obama Doctrine For Iraq - Stuart Gottlieb, With Iraq now in flames, and the entire Mideast at risk, perhaps President Obama and his national security team will finally rethink a doctrine they like to informally describe as “leading from behind” and “not doing stupid shit.”

Sometimes an excess of caution is the most careless approach of all. Image from

ISIS propaganda campaign threatens U.S. - The cam­paign, “Warn­ing to the Amer­i­can Peo­ple,” is being orga­nized on social media around the hash­tag #Calami­ty­Will­Be­fal­lUS and is being directed through one of the many Twit­ter han­dles pur­port­edly belong­ing to ISIS. Par­tic­i­pants are encour­aged to tweet using that hash­tag in Eng­lish or Ara­bic, although “tweet­ing in Eng­lish is pre­ferred.” Par­tic­i­pants are also encour­aged to repost offi­cially sanc­tioned tweets that appear on the ISIS “union page” and use “pho­tos of signs or designs with warn­ing to Amer­i­cans” when possible.  A num­ber of images and slo­gans were pre-released begin­ning on June 24. These include images of the falling World Trade Cen­ter, quotes by the Amer­i­can Al-Qaeda pro­pa­gan­dist Anwar al-Awlaki, and pic­tures of advanc­ing ISIS fighters. The offi­cial slo­gans fea­ture threats against Amer­i­can inva­sion and a range of par­tic­u­larly inflam­ma­tory mes­sages, including: “If the United States bombs Iraq, every cit­i­zen is a legit­i­mate tar­get for us.” “This is a mes­sage for every Amer­i­can cit­i­zen. You are the tar­get of every Mus­lim in the world wher­ever you are.” “For every drop of blood shed of the Iraqis, Amer­i­cans will shed a river of blood.” “Every Amer­i­can doc­tor work­ing in any coun­try will be slaugh­tered if Amer­ica attacks Iraq.” “Don’t come to Iraq unless you want another 11th Sep­tem­ber to happen.” See also.

Iraq’s Sunni Militants Take to Social Media to Advance Their Cause and Intimidate - Rod Nordland, New York Times: The extremist group battling the Iraqi government, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, may practice a seventh-century version of fundamentalist Islam, but it has demonstrated modern sophistication when it comes to using social media, particularly Twitter and other sites like WordPress and Tumblr. On Twitter, ISIS has hijacked World Cup hashtags, flooding unsuspecting soccer fans with its propaganda screeds. It has used Facebook as a death-threat generator; the text-sharing app JustPaste to upload book-length tirades; the app SoundCloud for jihadi music; and YouTube and Twitter for videos to terrify its enemies.

ISIS militants produce slick weekly magazine packed with English language Islamist propaganda designed to recruit and radicalise would-be extremists in the West - John Hall, "Weekly Islamic State Report is published by ISIS' AlHayat Media Center; Attempts to justify Sunni militants' brutal campaign in the Middle East; Blames Allied forces after First World War for political problems in region;

Magazine just the latest attempt by ISIS to radicalise young Westerners; Already have a large presence on social media - even selling merchandise. Image from entry, with caption: Communications: The professionally designed and edited Islamic State Report is published by the AlHayat Media Center - ISIS' propaganda wing. It is put out once a week, with four editions already released in June.

Militants In Iraq Are Surprisingly Brilliant On Social Media - Paul Szoldra, "In addition to seizing key towns in Iraq, Sunni militants in the country have demonstrated a remarkable ability to control and amplify their message far beyond the Middle East. ... With sophisticated social media campaigns, slick graphics, and professional video production, the propaganda campaign from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has helped bring in new recruits and terrified its enemies long before they came under attack."

Invading Iraq 2.0: ISIS Propaganda, Proxy Wars and US-NATO’s ‘Blitzkrieg’ - Shawn Helton, We’ve learned that much of Iraq has ‘fallen’ into the hands of Sunni militants, as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has pushed their way through to Iraq five months ago, while both Britain’s MI6, as well as the CIA, had prior knowledge of the well-funded terror group’s movements - allowing their apparent death march to continue after being warned well in advance.

The U.S. Tells Ottawa: O Canada, Stop Pouting -- An ex-Goldman Sachs bundler for Obama is starting to look like a diplomatic bungler - Mary O'Grady, Wall Street Journal: Mr. Obama's latest step in the image makeover is to tell Canada—the U.S.'s largest trading partner, largest supplier of energy and most loyal ally in war and peace—that its long-nurtured special relationship with the U.S. is not so special after all. To carry out the mission, Mr. Obama has sent a new U.S. ambassador to Ottawa.

Mr. Heyman made his debut in Ottawa earlier this month with a dinner speech at the National Gallery followed by a Q and A with former Canadian ambassador to Washington Frank McKenna. Mr. McKenna used the event to raise what Canada sees as troubling "irritants" in the bilateral relationship. Mr. Heyman used it to explain to Canadians how insignificant they are in the eyes of Washington. Image from

Kyoto Uses Its Many Charms to Attract Foreign Students - Miki Tanikawa, New York Times: A growing number of international students who are opting to study in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital, surrounded by historic temples and shrines, traditional art and crafts industries, and an abundance of nature. The number of foreign students in the city rose to 7,017 last year from 5,157 in 2009, according to an interuniversity body in Kyoto that compiles statistics. The figure of foreign students in Kyoto rose even as the number for Japan as a whole slipped to 135,000, from a peak of 141,000 in 2010. According to another agency, the Japan Student Services Organization, Kyoto, despite its relatively small size, had the fourth-largest population of foreign students in Japan last year, behind Tokyo — which was host to nearly half the total — Osaka and Fukuoka. Kyoto’s lure is a mix of its geography and its unique place in Japan’s cultural, historical and educational landscape, students say

Time to Evict Nazi-Looted Art From Museums: Some institutions still cling to paintings sought by the descendants of Hitler's victims - Ronald Lauder, Wall Street Journal: After decades in which this issue was conveniently ignored, the U.S. State Department sponsored an international conference in Washington, D.C., in 1998 to resolve the many and complicated issues surrounding the repatriation of Nazi-looted art. The conference introduced 11 protocols, known as the Washington Principles. The U.S. and the 43 other countries that adopted the principles agreed to look for Nazi-looted art in their public art collections and to resolve restitution claims in a just and fair manner. The Washington Principles amount to these two truths: Art museums and their collections should not be built with stolen property. Passion for art should not displace respect for justice.

The Dishonest Diplomat: How a Critical Profession Got a Bad Rap - Matthew Palmer, Time: The reality is that diplomacy — good diplomacy, at least — places a premium on honesty, defined here as credibility and trustworthiness. Do you mean what you say? Do you deliver on what you promise?

If not, why would anyone give you the time of day? Matthew Palmer is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service, currently serving as political counselor at the American embassy in Belgrade. Image from


--Via SH on Facebook


--Russian movie posters for Ice Age: Continental Drift, Surrogates, Terminator 2: Judgment Day; from Awkward Movie Posters from Russia; via MP

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 27-28

Image from


EzhoFF Band - United States - Via IK on Facebook


State Dept: Egypt's Jailing of Journalists a 'Detour on the Path to Democracy' - Jeryl Bier, Weekly Standard: "In spite of a string of worrisome human rights and freedom of expression violations, the Obama administration is holding out hope that Egypt's government lead by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is still headed for democracy.  State Department official Richard Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy, wrote a blog post this week titled 'Egypt’s Chilling Detour on the Path to Democracy,' where he expressed grave concern about the three Al Jazeera journalists convicted and sentenced this week for 'terrorism' by an Egyptian court, as well as other repressive actions." See also.

Is the U.S. Missing a Free Kick at the World Cup? - Stephen Kurczy, "The World Cup offers something of a free kick for soccer diplomacy, which some observers say U.S. President Barack Obama is failing to capitalize on. While many nations, from Germany to Russia, are sending their leaders to Brazil to make a diplomatic appearance, Obama is staying home.

So is First Lady Michelle Obama and their soccer-loving children, all three of whom attended the 2012 London Olympics. 'It’s a diminished opportunity,' says Derek Shearer, a former ambassador to Finland under President Bill Clinton and current director of the McKinnon Center for Global Affairs at Occidental University, where he teaches a class on sports diplomacy. 'Obama could have made more of it than he seems to be doing.'” Uncaptioned image from entry

Tourism Promotion Through Culinary Exchange - Media Note, Office of the Spokesperson, Washington, DC, June 26, 2014, "As President Obama recently announced, the Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, in collaboration with Brand USA, supports the National Travel and Tourism Strategy goal of bringing 100 million international visitors to the United States by 2021. In July, five members of the American Chef Corps will travel to East-Asian markets to promote U.S. tourism and agricultural exports. The Office of the Chief of Protocol’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership, together with the James Beard Foundation, established the American Chefs Corp, a network of more than 100 of America’s most renowned chefs, to participate in various public diplomacy programs. These programs engage foreign audiences at home and abroad by fostering cross-cultural exchange through the shared experience of food. Five talented and successful American chefs will promote American agricultural food exports, highlight regional American cuisines and tourism destinations, and participate in other high-visibility activities including U.S. Independence Day celebrations in China, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, and South Korea. July 4th activities will serve as a launch for an expanded, year-long BrandUSA-led global culinary tourism campaign that will culminate just before the 2015 World Expo in Milan, Italy. ... Brand USA is the public-private partnership responsible for promoting the United States as a premier travel destination and communicating U.S. visa and entry policies and procedures. Established by the Travel Promotion Act in 2010, the organization’s mission is to increase international visitation to the United States while working in partnership with the travel industry and Federal government to maximize the economic and social benefits of travel." See also.

FLEX Alumni Participation in the 2014 Presidential Election in Ukraine with Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe - "FLEX alumni assisted the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR)

to observe the May Presidential election in Ukraine. The OSCE deployed over 100 long-term observers and 900 short-term observers from participating States to assess the election process in terms of its compliance with OSCE standards for democratic elections and national legislation. Over 20 FLEX alumni worked as interpreters for the OSCE Election Observation Mission." Image from entry. with caption: FLEX Alumni Election Observers and Interpreters for the 2014 Presidential Elections. On the State Department FLEX program, see.

US Embassy Peru: The Ghost of Ambassador Past - Domani Spero, DiploPundit: "State/OIG recently posted its inspection report of the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru with 30 recommendations and 33 informal recommendations. ... [among the recommendation:] The public affairs section should establish clearer priorities and exert stronger missionwide leadership on long-term public diplomacy planning."

Russians target State Dept. spokeswoman for media assault - Lesley Clark, "Among the Russian bloggers and social media activists who are loyal to the Kremlin, there’s a favorite target when it comes to pillorying the United States. President Barack Obama and his chief diplomat, Secretary of State John Kerry, come in for a few licks. But for the unbridled ridicule particular to the Internet, there’s a bigger bull’s-eye: State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. Since the U.S. first began protesting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Ukraine, Psaki has been relentlessly mocked by a parade of bloggers and tweeters. She’s even the subject of a satiric song — 'There is nothing more competent than Psaki' — by a group of radio disc jockeys, and of a flurry of unflattering Photoshopped images."

‘Scrap this broken agency’: Audit finds Broadcasting Board of Governors wasted $5M - Kellan Howell, Washington Times: "A new State Department Office of the Inspector General audit finds that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the agency that oversees U.S. international broadcasting, has wasted almost $5 million in taxpayer dollars on questionable and unapproved purchases. The State Department’s watchdog coined the BBGs mishap as a 'systematic failure' of acquisitions. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said that the BBG’s 'wasteful spending, non-competitive contracting practices, and violations of current law point to an organization without accountable leadership.'”

Bureaucrats gave listeners little time to learn about shortwave cuts by VOA, RFA, and RFE/RL - "Executives in charge of the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), which operates radio transmissions for the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), have once again shown their contempt for loyal radio listeners of many years, as well as for Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) journalists and broadcasters who prepare shortwave radio broadcasts, which IBB just announced it wants to terminate at the end of the day on June 30, 2014 in a massive and in most cases complete cut affecting many countries without free media: Belarus, Caucasus, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Iraq (Kurdish), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

At the very least, BBG members should intervene and tell IBB executives that they cannot give radio listeners only a day or two to adjust to such a major change. They should also demand that IBB executives show a little more respect for managers and journalists at VOA, RFA, and RFE/RL." Uncaptioned image from entry

USIB Suddenly cancels most of its shortwave radio frequencies to Asia. Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty have decided to suddenly pull the plug on shortwave radio to Asia - Jonathan Marks, "The US Congress has just approved major cutbacks to US international broadcasting using shortwave radio. ... Late Friday June 27th it emerged that Broadcasting Board of Governors proposed shortwave cuts for for the financial year 2014 have been approved by Congress. As of the end of the day on Monday, June 30th 2014, all shortwave frequencies for English News programs to Asia will dropped permanently. VOA will no longer be heard via shortwave in the morning (12-16 UTC), and the evening hours (22-02 UTC)…mostly in Asia. Shortwave frequencies for the following VOA language services will also be eliminated: Azerbaijani, Bangla, English (Learning), Khmer, Kurdish, Lao and Uzbek. Shortwave transmissions being used by services at RFE/RL and RFA are also being cut. VOA programming via FM/AM affiliates in Asia is not affected by these changes, it's purely that direct shortwave is being curtailed, reflecting a change in the lay audiences get their news. VOA will continue to supply services via the web and via podcasts. VOA is still using shortwave to the African continent. Several countries (e.g. Somalia, Northern Nigeria, and Sudan) still use shortwave as a way of reaching listeners outside the main cities."

Time to Shut Down the VOA - "Perhaps, it is now necessary to consider the closing of VOA. Since it is no longer a viable entity, and gives anti-Americans a voice in its content, there are many of us who feel that this doesn’t exemplify its original purpose: to educate the world in American life, including news, music and our Constitutional ideals.

It is costing us too much money to be castigated in this way. To sum up: it is time to close down the Voice of America. It is no longer our voice."

Letter: If it is on the news, it has to be true -- maybe - Karen Son, Pampa, "Did you know (in 2012) that Congress passed legislation making it legal to lie to us? Yes, our very own Rep. Mac Thornberry proposed the bill and it passed.

Prior to this bill, it had been illegal for the government to produce propaganda and feed it to the American public — like former President George W. Bush admitting the CIA had produced propaganda for decades and ran it on our newscasts." Image from entry

Military Cooperation with China: RIMPAC as a Model for the Future - Doug Bandow, "The Rim of the Pacific Exercise recently concluded in waters near Hawaii. For the first time China joined the drills. It was a small but positive step for integrating Beijing into more international institutions. RIMPAC started in 1971. This year there are 23 participants, including the People’s Republic of China, which explained that the maneuvers are 'an important mission of military diplomacy' and a means to strengthen 'friendly relations with countries of the South Pacific through public diplomacy.'”

Understanding Pakistan’ course participants get certificates - APP: "Pakistan’s embassy in Washington awarded certificates to participants of the third 'Understanding Pakistan' course, which has become an important public diplomacy initiative aimed at fostering and expanding people-to-people contacts between Pakistan and the United States."

The real reason North Korea threatened to 'mercilessly destroy' Seth Rogen - Zack Beauchamp, "Seth Rogen and James Franco are making a comedic movie about assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Shortly after the trailer premiered on Wednesday, the North Korean government information ministry threatened to 'mercilessly destroy anyone who dares hurt or attack the supreme leadership of the country even a bit.' It certainly looks like yet another case of North Korea being crazy and aggressive. But this may actually be a pretty canny bit of public diplomacy by Pyongyang — and one that many Americans, by laughing at 'crazy' North Korea, are unwittingly playing right into.

According to North Korea expert Jennifer Lind, spewing apparently non-sensical threats at Hollywood funnymen is part of a larger, deliberate strategy to manipulate the West's view of North Korea. The more Americans point and laugh at those crazy North Koreans, the more we help them in that project. ... North Korea wants the world to think it's crazy, according to Lind, as a negotiating tactic. 'We are so convinced [of their insanity],' she says, 'that I think it stays our hand in many crises.'" Image from entry, with caption: Kim Jong Un Looking At Things

Nigeria hires U.S. lobby firm for N195 million to launder image over handling of Chibok abduction - Nicholas Ibekwe, "The Nigerian government has come under local and international condemnation over its far-from-impressive handling of the Chibok abduction. In order to whitewash its inept handling of the kidnap of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the terrorist group, Boko Haram, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has awarded a N195 million ($1.2 million) contract to U.S. Public Relations and lobby firm, Levick, to help change 'international and local media narrative' surrounding its efforts to rescue the girls, Washington DC based newspaper, The Hill, is reporting. ... Details contained in the contract document obtained by The Hill, an American newspaper specialising in covering parliament, show that the firm will also be 'assisting the government’s efforts to mobilize international support in fighting Boko Haram as part of the greater war on terror'. The firm also promised to assist the government in effecting 'real change' in the country.

'A more comprehensive approach using vehicles such as public diplomacy and engaging outside experts to enact real changes is how the advocacy industry is evolving,' Phil Elwood, a Vice President at Levick, told The Hill. 'A communications strategy alone is not enough to solve the complex and multifaceted problems facing some of the more controversial nations.' “For me, after talking to him, the priority for President Jonathan beyond any is finding and bringing home the girls,” said Lanny Davis, an Executive Vice President at Levick. See also (1) (2). President Goodluck Jonathan image from

The Politics of Panic Mongering in the Middle East: Israel’s Existential Threat - Andrew Levine, "Israel thrives on what it calls 'existential threats,' fabricated perils that are just plausible enough to be believed. As social divisions mount, they help hold Israeli society together. They also keep 'diaspora' Jews on board. And they keep Western, especially American, diplomatic, military and economic support coming. ... [A] smooth talker with an American accent, and a state sponsored hasbara (public diplomacy/propaganda) campaign led by deceivers skilled in the dark arts of public relations, popularized the concept and the term. One result is that words that could be helpful, when used without meretricious intent, are now tainted, perhaps irreversibly so."

World Cup Broadcasts: The Middle East's Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity - James Dorsey, Hufffington Post: "Israel ... seems ... incapable of capitalizing on the fact that many in countries that border on the Jewish state tune into Amos, the Israeli satellite station that grants free access to World Cup matches. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's spokesman for Arab media, Ofir Gendelman, initially welcomed Arab viewers in remarks on social media. 'I hear that many football fans in neighbouring countries are watching the World Cup live on Israeli channels. We welcome you,' Mr. Gendelman said on Facebook and Twitter. Access to a massive Arab audience constituted an opportunity for Israel to subtly attempt to forge links where peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan have failed to build cultural and public diplomacy links. Instead, Mr. Gendelman provoked a torrent of abuse several days after his welcoming comment by publishing Hebrew soccer slogans written with the Arabic alphabet that he hoped would prove useful to Arab fans. Responses by Egyptian fans on social media reflected conflicting feelings of on the one hand favouring a boycott of Israel because of the Jewish state's occupation of Arab territory for almost half a century and its attitude towards the Palestinians and on the other the desire to take advantage of the free access Israel grants."

Fab, 40 and on fire for the arts: Artistic director Ismail Mahomed chats to Eugene Yiga about the world's second-largest arts festival as it celebrates four decades in Grahamstown - "[Mahomed:] It is crucial to note how the festival positions South Africa internationally.

In recent years, international participation at the festival has increased. The number of South African productions from the festival that have travelled abroad has also increased. These productions have contributed hugely to South Africa’s public diplomacy and cultural diplomacy campaigns abroad." Mahomed image from entry

A Lesson in Cultural Diplomacy: The 2014 IST. Festival - Ann Binlot, "Istanbul may be rich in cultural history, with 18th-century mosques, sultans’ palaces and Byzantine relics, but its global contemporary art offerings are nowhere near that of London, Paris and New York.

So Demet Muftuoglu and her organization Istanbul’74 decided to do something about it and bring the world’s most renowned creatives to the city where east meets west through the Istanbul International Art and Culture Festival, also known as the IST. Festival and Istancool, a three-day event filled with discussions, film screenings, performances and more." Image from entry

Does Copying In Fashion Keep It Fresh? - "Johanna Blakley is managing director and director of research of the Norman Lear Center focusing on how entertainment interacts with our political, commercial and social habits. She especially interested in the impact of intellectual property rights on innovation, organizing conferences around the lack of creative ownership in fashion, and technology's role in ownership of creative content. She is a lecturer at USC who helped develop their masters program in

public diplomacy." Blakley image from entry

More Rhode Island Politicians React to Buddy Cianci's Candidacy - Mark Curtis, "A Friday morning transportation event was a who's who of Rhode Island politics, but the person who was not there is still getting most of the attention. So how are the state's leader's reacting to Buddy Cianci on the ballot, trying to become mayor for the third time. 'It's America. Sure I see the national press and that's unfortunate, but people have a right to run if they get the signatures and get on the ballot,' said Gov. Lincoln Chafee, (D) Rhode Island. ... The artful public diplomacy over Cianci, was probably best summed up by the state's senior Democrat. 'I have great faith in the common sense of the voters in Rhode Island, about going forward and making wise choices and ultimately it is in their hands. This is there choice,' said Senator Jack Reed, (D) Rhode Island."


Things Fall Apart: Iraq - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: While American interest in Iraq seems to parallel American interest in soccer, popping up when world events intrude before fading again, the other players in Iraq have been planning moves over the long game. In the blink of an eye, U.S. efforts in Syria have been exposed as fully-counterproductive toward greater U.S. goals, the U.S. has been drawn back into Iraq, with troops again on the ground in a Muslim war we thought we’d backed out of.

The U.S. finds itself supporting Iranian ground forces, and partnering with militias well outside of any government control, with Special Forces working alongside potential suicide bombers who only a few years ago committed themselves to killing Americans in Iraq. What appears to be the U.S. “plan,” some sort of unity government, belies the fact that such unity has eluded U.S. efforts for almost eleven years of war in Iraq.  Image from

Now Is the Moment for Kurdish Independence: Middle East borders are vanishing, and the U.S. should adjust its diplomacy accordingly - William A. Galston, Wall Street Journal: The highest and best use of America's remaining influence in the Middle East would be to work toward a new security order with national boundaries that all the major regional players can endorse.

While Iraq Burns - Editorial, New York Times: Although President Obama has wisely ruled out a return of American ground troops, he has deployed 300 advisers (plus private security guards to protect them) to help the Iraqi Army and to develop targets for potential military strikes against the militants. Obama administration officials have said any strikes will depend on factors like support from Iraq’s political leaders and intelligence that identifies precise ISIS targets. But military advice and support won’t accomplish much if Mr. Maliki and other Iraqi leaders refuse to join together to save their state.

Propaganda back in the USSR - Mark Feeney, Boston Globe: A revolution, to succeed, requires imagination and energy. A dictatorship, to endure, requires their suppression. These sadly parallel truths have no clearer demonstration than the course of Soviet visual culture. During the 1920s, film, photography, and graphic design were as radical in the Soviet Union as the political ideology — and vastly more influential. All too soon artistic ferment gave way to conservatism and fear, then careerism and kitsch. Actually, considering the rote drabness of Soviet-era fine and applied art, kitsch rather flatters.

The 53 posters in “Darker Shades of Red: Official Soviet Propaganda From the Cold War” are from the four decades following World War II. They make plain just how distant a memory those first heady years had become. Image, words, message — the whole package — it’s all so . . . inert. Propaganda can be predictable. Propaganda can be simplistic. Propaganda can be derivative. In fact, propaganda is probably most effective when it’s predictable, simplistic, and derivative. Those qualities make it reassuring (an unspoken end of propaganda) as well as rousing. It shares those qualities with pornography — and, as with pornography, inertness is death to propaganda. The similarity doesn’t end there. Both propaganda and pornography flirt with the ridiculous: Excess is the path to success. But if either becomes outright ridiculous, the jig is up. Image from entry, with caption: O Savostuyk, "He Who Guards the Nation Deserves Our Veneration," 1968

World War One propaganda: A look at wartime ads from 1914-1918 - As Saturday 28 June marks 100 years since the start of World War One, we take a look back at some of the most famous propaganda ads from the time. Among the images:

U.S. diplomatic facilities may be at risk because of security problems, GAO report says - Josh Hicks, U.S. diplomatic facilities abroad may be at risk because of problems with their security standards and practices, according to a report this week from federal auditors. The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative wing of Congress, found inconsistency in the way the State Department prepares for evolving threats and the potential dangers to temporary facilities that operate longer than anticipated.

We’re Sending This ‘We Meant Well’ Career Diplomat as Ambassador to Qatar – Domani Spero, Diplopundit: "So, back to Ms. Smith, the State Department nominee as ambassador to Qatar. We think she will eventually be confirmed.  Her ‘Certificate of Competency' posted online says: Dana Shell Smith, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Department of State. Known as a linguistic, cultural and policy expert on the Middle East, she understands the region well and can effectively present major U.S. policy issues to diverse audiences. Her leadership, management and public affairs expertise, as well as her interpersonal skills and creativity, will enable her to advance bilateral relations with the Government of Qatar, an important U.S. partner in managing the problems of the Middle East. Dang! That is impressive but it missed an important accomplishment. Until her nomination as Ambassador to Qatar, Dana Smith Ms. Smith served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Public Affairs (2011-2014).  Does that ring a bell?  Oh, how quickly we forget. Ms. Smith was the PA official who told Peter Van Buren’s book publisher, Macmillan, that the Department has 'recently concluded that two pages of the book manuscript we have seen contain unauthorized disclosures of classified information' in We Meant Well. (See 'Classified' Information Contained in We Meant Well – It’s a Slam Dunk, Baby!). What did she actually tell MacMillan?  Let’s take a look:

click here to see entire letter (pdf)  This boo! strategy may be creative but also oh, so…. so… amateurish. Who thought Macmillan would buy this scaredy tactic?  Perhaps they should have threatened to buy all the copies and burn them all.  The really funny ha!ha! part about this is despite the charge that the book contained “unauthorized disclosures of classified information” the formal State Department charges filed against Mr. Van Buren did not mention this and he was officially retired with full benefits. (See After a Year of Serious Roars and Growls, State Dept Officially Retires FSO-Non Grata Peter Van Buren). We Meant Well is now on second edition on paperback and hardback.  We understand that the book is also used as a text at colleges and at various US military schools but not/not at the Foreign Service Institute.  This past April, Mr. Van Buren also published his new book, Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99PercentAs Iraq falls apart, we thought we’d check on Mr. Van Buren. He told us there is no truth to the rumor that he will retitle WMW to 'I Told You So.'”
See also. For a review of We Meant Wellsee.


"How many PRT [Provincial Reconstruction Team] staff members does it take to screw in a light bulb? One to hire a contractor who fails to complete the job and two to write the press release in the dark.

--Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well

[T]oday's MPs should perhaps be thankful that the Standards and Privileges Committee is unlikely to recommend that a member's face be shoved into a horse's anus, the sentence passed on Sir Giles Mompesson in 1621 (though the fled the country to avoid it).

--Chris Skidmore, The Times Literary Supplement (June 13, 2014), p. 30


Photoblogging: Falls Church Hamburger, Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog

Friday, June 27, 2014

June 25-26

"Dante wrote in his treatise on language that though men and women must communicate with words, angels can talk to one another in silence."

--Bard Professor Joseph Luzzi; Dante image from


The State Department Is Fighting With ISIL on Twitter - Rebecca Carroll, "The State Department is expanding a program to counter al-Qaida and other extremist groups using Twitter, YouTube and other digital media, the agency announced this week. The English-language Think Again Turn Away campaign is run by the Center for Strategic Counter Terrorism Communications’ digital outreach team. The English-language effort uses TwitterTumblr and YouTube accounts to promote U.S. and international perspectives on topics such as the motives of the brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which has taken control of large portions of Iraq and has a strong social media presence of its own. The Think Again Turn Away Twitter account engages with individual Twitter users, linking to its own picture and video archives or to outside articles from respected news outlets. Frequent themes include ISIS’ targeting of Muslims and civilians in general. The department has awarded a $575,046 contract to JTG, Inc. of Vienna, Virginia, to continue and expand the English-language initiative that launched late last year without additional money or personnel. The digital media team also works in Arabic, Urdu, Somali and Punjabi.  Under the new 6-month contract, JTG employees will research and analyze extremist websites and 'conduct focus group[s] or other relevant pretesting of product concepts and pilot products in order to ensure resonance with the target audience' — namely, English speakers, including Westerners, who are digitally engaged with extremists and potential targets of recruitment efforts. CSCC says the program is not intended to target Americans.

'CSCC will now be working aggressively to identify various ways to measure effectiveness across all languages, formats and platforms, including but not limited to, focus groups,' the center’s leader Ambassador Alberto Fernandez said in an emailed statement to Nextgov. ... The expansion includes several contract positions; analytics, research and other tools; software and hardware; travel; and various other items. Fernandez said it’s not unusual to contract out this type of work, as the center’s foreign language digital media programs have also been doing. 'In digital counterterrorism communications, we often need to be able to move from language to language and environment to environment to keep pace with events and our adversaries,' Fernandez said. 'In practical terms, this means that we frequently need to look for new people with new skills. The best mechanism for doing this is to contract out the work.'" Image from entry, with caption: Here’s a [part of a] sample #ThinkAgainTurnAway Twitter exchange

Africa needs to better track, manage, report funds - Dibya Sarkar, "The primary U.S. counterterrorism program in northwest Africa – where terrorist groups including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram operate – has spent about $140 million since 2009, but program managers were unable to easily provide data on the status of the funds, a congressional investigation has found. A Government Accountability Office report (pdf) released June 24 said that nearly half of the $288 million earmarked for the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, or TSCTP, between fiscal 2009 to 2013, has been spent. Yet, managers 'do not routinely collect and assess data on the status of funds for

TSCTP activities, such as the amounts of funds unobligated or disbursed – key data that could help inform their management of the program,' the report said. In a recent survey on Federal IT Reform, Senior government IT executives laid out their vision for the coming year, detailing challenges and identifying priorities. To read more about these timely results click here to download the summary today. GAO said the process to provide the information presented in the report took several months, which government officials said was very labor-intensive. The State Department-led TSCTP program – which also involves the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Defense Department – is designed to strengthen the counterterrorism capabilities and other relevant activities in 11 countries in northwest Africa, GAO said. Program activities include public diplomacy, counterterrorism and law enforcement training, criminal justice reforms, support for youth employment, better access to education and local governance improvement."

IG: State Department bureau needs to develop IT strategy, manage networks more efficiently - Dibya Sarkar, "A bureau that promotes the State Department's policy-advocacy work through videos, social media, interactive web chats and other means still has not established an IT strategy that matches up with business needs, an investigation has found. The State Department's inspector general issued a follow-up report (pdf) in June to an inspection done in 2013 at the Bureau of International Information Programs, or IIP. In the new report, the IG found that the bureau has complied with 59 of 80 formal recommendations made in the prior report regarding a wide range of issues. For example, the IIP has implemented several technology-related recommendations, the new report noted, such as a new standard operating procedure for cyber-incident handling for externally hosted systems and a new project plan that addresses the goals, business case, risks, security and annual operating costs of a cloud-based software service. Knowing which programs your agency should support doesn't have to be a guessing game. While the bureau has also improved technology operations, the IG report said IIP still didn't implement a recommendation for a bureau-wide IT strategy. 'The plan would allow

IIP to better align technology solutions to its business needs, while specifically addressing privacy concerns and electronic information accessibility for people with disabilities,' the report noted. In October 2013, the bureau told the IG's office that it had begun assessing IT initiatives and it would move forward with a strategy, but the new report said such a plan 'has not moved beyond the discussion stage.' The report also said that IIP uses dedicated Internet networks for software development, video production, web engagement with worldwide audiences, and other services that can't be provided on the State Department's unclassified network. Through a joint executive office with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, IIP manages more than 114 workstations and 20 servers on 14 dedicated Internet networks to support the work, the report said. However, with an increase in dedicated networks, IIP is shouldering the responsibility for providing network infrastructure support, which is really the responsibility under the Bureau of Information Resource Management, or IRM. The IG report said this is a duplication of efforts and inefficient use of IT and network security resources. Like in the prior report, the IG recommended that IIP and IRM perform an IT network infrastructure needs analysis for public diplomacy work and implement the results." Image from

Social Media Workshop at the American Center - Nandasiri Wanninayaka, "Last Monday I attended a social media workshop at the American Center. The instructor was a guy called Prasad Perera. He covered Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and digital storytelling. It was a very effective workshop. I learnt a lot there. Usually majority of the social media users use only the very basic features of the social media tools.

But if you attend this workshop you can learn a lot more than what you already know. They have a basic, intermediate and advanced level workshops. You can contact the American Center for more details. Public Diplomacy Office of the American Embassy 44, Galle Road, Colombo 3 Sri Lanka." Image from entry, with caption: Prasad Perera doing the workshop

Officials Decry Lack of Funding, Attention on Diplomacy to Resolve Conflicts - Christina Munnell, "The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development don’t receive enough funding, or the respect from the American public, when it comes to their roles in preventing international conflict, officials from the agencies said June 24. 'Foreign affairs investment is about 1 percent of the federal budget . . . people think it’s a much higher investment,' Heather Higginbottom, deputy secretary of State for management and resources, said at an American Security Project panel discussion on Capitol Hill. The remarks came ahead of the second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which evaluates the organizational structures of the State Department and USAID. The review examines how the agencies can act more efficiently in budget management and strategic planning to enhance U.S. involvement in foreign affairs. While one of the main goals of the QDDR is to prevent international conflict and friction, Higginbottom said tight budgets often impede this mission. Limited funds hinder the agencies’ ability to improve current technology and communication systems, making it difficult for the U.S. to remain a global competitor. 'One of the barriers we face to being very successful in this has to do with data and technology and systems. We have to update,' she said. The first QDDR, introduced in 2010 by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, similarly focused on neutralizing conflicts before they became violent.

It emphasized the importance of 'civilian power,' and the role of defense agencies, in promoting public diplomacy and security. Work continues on producing the 2014 QDDR, which is expected to be released by the end of the year, according to the American Security Project website. Agencies are looking for more engagement in foreign affairs issues on the part of the public. Strong public involvement is what keeps the United States safe, said Thomas Perriello, who was appointed special representative for the QDDR by Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year. Speakers were asked how the agencies would 'sell diplomacy' to the American public to spark citizens’ involvement. Perriello said promoting diplomacy wasn’t as easy as promoting military involvement, but he hoped citizens recognized how critical their participation was to national security. ... The panel addressed the problem of declining budgets. 'How are we going to pay for all of this stuff?' Alexander Their, assistant administrator for policy, planning, and learning at USAID, asked. The U.S. government 'just a generation ago paid for most of our development — 80 percent by some counts. Today that figure is only 10 percent,' he said. ... Heavy contributions from the private sector have given the United States greater capacity for international development and security, Their said. Still, budget restrictions and Americans’ disregard of global affairs have obstructed the State Department and USAID from becoming an influential player overseas, and from spreading public diplomacy and safety, Their said. The success of the QDDR in promoting public diplomacy ultimately depends on the agencies’ ability to gain support from the public. 'We can’t do this without it being a partnership between the Hill and the executive branch,' he said. Image from

Ajami in the Arabic press - As'ad AbuKhalil, The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: "[T]his is typical in the US: they always assume that their chosen Arabs are popular Arabs, with US armies invading.  You know that Paul Wolfowitz predicted that Kenaan Makiyya would become president of Iraq--I kid you not. ... If Ahmad Chalabi had to ride on the coattails of Muqtada As-Sadr to win a seat in parliament, the rest is too predictable.  Yet, the Bush administration was lobbied by Zionists to appoint Ajami as its assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy to improve relations with the Arab world. I am not making this up." On Ajami, see.

Only way to save U.S. international broadcasting is complete reform - Helle Dale, Washington Times: "Revolution’s in the air at the agency that oversees the U.S. government’s broadcasting to the world. Directors are in high dudgeon, and staff have threatened a mass walkout. The reason: Congress has finally had enough with the mismanagement of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and is moving reform legislation. Some profess outrage that Congress would dare ‘interfere.’ ‘Back Off, Congress, And Keep Voice of America Real’ blared a Los Angeles Times commentary by a VOA foreign correspondent. A Washington Post editorial fumed that H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act moving through the House, ‘would take a dangerous step toward converting the most venerable and listened-to U.S. outlet, Voice of America, into another official mouthpiece.’ The ‘mouthpiece’ concern seems terribly overwrought. The bill states repeatedly that Voice of America will continue to ‘provide accurate, objective, comprehensive information with the understanding that these three values provide credibility among global news audiences.’ … Bipartisan, bicameral legislation is practically unheard of these days, but broadcasting reform enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support. The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved H.R. 4490 unanimously on April 30. The bill now awaits action by the full House, and a nearly identical bill is close to completion in the Senate. Sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Royce, California Republican, H.R. 4490 calls for a ‘recalibration’ of VOA’s mission. It requires VOA to produce news that is ‘consistent with and promotes the broad foreign policies of the United States,’ thus giving VOA ‘greater mission focus.' It includes much-needed management reform too. The governors are part-timers, attempting to do the full-time job of running multiple international broadcast services. The legislation would establish a full-time, day-to-day chief executive officer. And it separates the missions and management of the two distinct types of broadcasting done by the U.S. government — Voice of America on the one hand and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Network on the other.

The latter would be consolidated into the Liberty News Network ‘grantee organization.’ Operating privately with grants from the U.S. government, these broadcasters would provide uncensored local news and information to people in closed societies who have no access to independent news. The House bill is good; the Senate version could be better. For example, H.R. 4490 calls for the board to be responsible for the hiring and firing of the chief executive officer — power that certainly exceeds that of an ‘advisory’ body. The Senate bill could improve that by making the CEO a presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate. Another item ripe for improvement: The Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) remains a federal broadcaster, along with Voice of America. The OCB’s mission is closer to that of the ‘liberty radios.’ Making it part of the ‘Liberty News Network’ could give Cuba broadcasting a boost and more independence. The Congressional reform effort is not about producing government propaganda. VOA will not become like Russia’s RT or China’s CCTV for the good reason that the United States is not Russia or China. Reform is needed, however, to communicate America’s message of freedom more effectively throughout the world.” Via GG on Facebook. Image from

Letter: Propaganda tool - Gary J. Bjorge, Lawrence, "I sincerely hope that Chancellor Gray-Little and the other members of her Kansas University administration who have consistently denied the true nature of KU’s Confucius Institute have read the statement issued recently by the American Association of University Professors calling upon American universities to either shut down their Confucius Institutes or drastically revise the contracts they have signed with the Chinese government to operate them. The AAUP noted that 'Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state' and that most partnership agreements signed by American universities with the Chinese government 'feature nondisclosure clauses and unacceptable concessions to the political aims and practices of the government of China.'

A New York Times article described the AAUP statement as basically an echo of sentiments expressed by a distinguished professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Chicago: 'Prominent Confucius Institute hosts should take the lead in reversing course, stressing that the issues involved are larger than their own particular interests. By hosting a Confucius Institute, they have become engaged in the political and propaganda efforts of a foreign government in a way that contradicts the values of free inquiry and human welfare to which they are otherwise committed.' KU is a prominent Confucius Institute host. Its Confucius Institute was one of the first established and a photograph taken at the dedication ceremony introduced the New York Times article referred to above. So, Chancellor Gray-Little, are you ready to reverse course? Or do you want to have KU continue to serve the political and propaganda efforts of the Chinese state?" Image from

LINKS Director addresses European security issues in keynote speech at NATO PA Baku Seminar - "LINKS Executive Director, Dennis Sammut was the keynote speaker at the 86th Rose-Roth Seminar organised by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in the Azerbaijani capital Baku from 16-18 June 2014. ... Dennis Sammut said, ... Many in the West, as well as in Russia have tried to describe the current stand-off between Russia and the west as a second cold war. ... Comparisons with the cold war are inaccurate and can be dangerously misleading, for the antidote to the present crisis is not in using cold war tactics, but rather in the clever deployment of a mix of diplomacy, economic muscle, public diplomacy and media and social media."

Summer School ‘The Balkans Success Story – Maintaining Regional Security and Enhancing Stability - "Summer School ‘The Balkans Success Story – Maintaining Regional Security and Enhancing Stability’ is organised by the Atlantic Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in partnership

with NATO Public Diplomacy Division and with the assistance of Atlantic Treaty Association." Image from

No matter what Putin says — Russian people have no appetite for war - Matthew Rojansky and Kenneth Yalowitz, "For now, the West would be well advised to keep doors of communication open to Russians. The most effective means

is to keep cooperative efforts and exchanges alive in science, culture and education. Public diplomacy outreach needs to be increased but conducted with sensitivity to Russians’ distinct narrative." Image from entry

Comment: New Colombo Plan can change how we see Asia - David Lowe, "In announcing Australia’s ‘new aid paradigm’ at the National Press Club recently, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop topped and tailed her speech with the Colombo Plan. Bishop began by recalling the thousands of Asian students who were sponsored to study in Australia under the Colombo Plan for aid to south and southeast Asia, commencing in 1951. She concluded with reference to a new 'signature policy in foreign affairs' that is the government’s New Colombo Plan, which provides support for Australian students to study and undertake internships in a partner Asian country. … The Colombo Plans, old and new, generate wonderful human-interest material as students experience new lands and learning. And they are ready-made vehicles for the ‘humanising’ of foreign policy objectives, such as cultivating friends and two-way understanding of Australia and our region – public diplomacy in modern parlance. … But there were limits to what could be achieved in the name of the Colombo Plan.

Some of the publicity around Australian efforts stalled when it was not translated into local languages, and it was hard to maintain a profile in countries such as India, where the numbers spending time in Australia represented a miniscule fraction of the population. As mentioned, it was also very hard to keep track of where Colombo Plan alumni ended up. Those who had positive experiences in Australia were invariably those who proved easiest to track down later, but their number didn’t account for anything like the full complement. … The aim of fostering interest in the region and replacing the largely one-way flow of Asian students to Australia with a two-way flow is widely welcomed. The first tranche of funding under the New Colombo Plan started in February, and 24 Australian universities sent more than 300 students to Asia for study, language training and internships. … The New Colombo Plan has the potential to help shift us from seeing Asia primarily through the eyes of tourists and exporters. It might enable us to draw more on the experiences of the roughly half a million Australians who already live and work in the region. We also need our new New Colombo Plan scholars to be great listeners and learners – qualities not necessarily instilled if, as has sometimes been the case this year, their overseas ventures are very short-term. Good listening is an essential quality of public diplomacy initiatives." Image from entry, with caption: Governments hope cultural exchanges create people-to-people links between nations

Crying Wolf Is Finally Catching Up With Israel: The world is sick of Israel and its insanities. Israel is discovering that it’s no longer the center of attention as it always was before - Gideon Levy, "What a cruel world: Three yeshiva students were kidnapped, and the world isn’t interested; three mothers are crying out, and the world doesn’t answer. It’s all because the entire world is against us; it’s anti-Semitic and hates Israel. ... It takes considerable effrontery to demand that the world interests itself in the fate of three abducted Israelis, and considerable chutzpah to be disappointed by the fact that it has kept silent. Granted, Israel tried to move heaven and earth, and its ambassador/propagandist at the UN gave a moving speech in an effort to scrape up a few more public diplomacy points against Hamas.

But once it was paying attention already, that bizarre world was more interested in the campaign of collective punishment imposed on thousands of West Bank residents after the kidnapping." Image from entry, with caption: Rachel Fraenkel, mother of abducted Israeli teen Naftali, addresses the UNHRC on June 24, 2014. But does the world care?

AU council approves Egypt's return from suspension - "The African Union (A.U.) Peace and Security Council at the level of heads of state on Wednesday endorsed the resumption of Egypt's A.U. membership. ... Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will meet Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, on the sidelines of an African Union (A.U.) summit, an Ethiopian minister said Wednesday. ... He added that a joint ministerial committee from the two countries will convene soon, whereas a public diplomacy delegation from Ethiopia will visit Egypt too.

The Ethiopian minister noted that a public diplomacy delegation from Egypt is also expected to visit Ethiopia. Tension has marred relations between Ethiopia and Egypt in recent years over the construction of an Ethiopian hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile." Image from entry, with caption: Egypt's new President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi arrived in Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday to lead his country's delegation to the A.U. summit, which will kick off in Malabo on Thursday.

Tell a different story: story of two centuries - Vugar Adigozalov, "[A]s a young Liberal Political Leader from Azerbaijan I was one of 6 co-founders of Liberal Youth Network of Caucasus (LYNC) which brings together Liberals from all over Caucasus together. LYNC turned to be an open and strong platform for public diplomacy, sharing thoughts, and unique meeting point for refugee youth to share their stories."

Walk Where She Walked, Touch What She Touched: A Difficult Beginning… - "Today, in an event I have been looking forward to for a while, I had coffee at headquarters of the Dutch Ambassador to Finland. I was both honored that the embassy has taken such an interest ... and slightly disappointed, as the Ambassador got pulled away on 'urgent business' and wasn’t able to join.

Still, we were graciously received by Counsellor Hans Kruishoop and Ilona, the Public Diplomacy Officer. I presented them with some San Francisco Blue Bottle coffee, sugared almonds, and of course – Adventure Pants for the Ambassador. And as luck would have it, I met the Ambassador himself on the stairs as we left!" Uncaptioned image from entry


Let ISIS play out its role in history: Column - David A. Andelman, USA Today: Iraq is at the beginning of the endgame of its existence that began more than a century ago, and there is little the United States can do about it.

Joining the fight, as we seem ever closer to doing, will only ensure we are defeated by the overwhelming forces of history. Image from

Obama’s Weakness, or Ours? - Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: Former Vice President Dick Cheney's complaining about Obama’s foreign policy is a bit like the old definition of chutzpah: killing your parents and then pleading for mercy because you’re an orphan. In the Bush/Cheney years, we lost thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, we became mired in Afghanistan, Iran vastly expanded the number of centrifuges in its nuclear program, and North Korea expanded its arsenal of nuclear weapons. And much of the world came to despise us. Blowing things up is often satisfying, and Obama’s penchant for muddling along instead, with restraint, is hurting him politically. But that’s our weakness more than his. Obama’s foreign policy is far more deft — and less dangerous — than the public thinks, and he doesn’t deserve the harsh assessments. If there’s one thing we should have learned in the Bush/Cheney years, it’s that swagger and invasion are overrated as foreign policy instruments.

The Iraqi Friends We Abandoned - Kirk W. Johnson, New York Times: Bipartisan legislation did create a category of Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqis who had helped us, but bureaucracy strangled their distribution.

Thousands of Iraqis who worked with our troops, diplomats and aid workers remain in limbo, desperate for a visa allowing them to reach safety. The same story is playing out in Afghanistan. Two and a half years since our last troops departed, perhaps 1.5 million Iraqis have been uprooted by new fighting that may shatter Iraq as a nation. Image fromsee also.

Iraqi Officials Start Spinning Propaganda as Losses Pile Up - Night Watch, Iraq: Today, the Ministry of Defense said Iraqi forces have regained control of the al-Walid border crossing with Syria and the Turaibil border crossing with Jordan. The government's claim is not confirmed and appears doubtful. After ten days of fighting, fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) now control the oil refinery at Baiji.

They are reported to have told Sunni tribal leaders in the area to keep it operating and supplying gasoline to ISIL fighters. Comment: Nearly every major town in the Sunni areas of Iraq is no longer responsive to the central government. The window for political reform to have an effect on the security situation has closed for now, in less than two weeks. By the end of the week, ISIL and its Sunni allies should be in a position to begin attacking Baghdad from multiple directions, should they so decide. Uncaptioned image from entry

Losses to ISIS in Iraq Spur U.S. to Rethink Syria: Obama Administration Debates Hitting Sunni Insurgent Strongholds on Either Side of Border; Military Warns of Blowback - Dion Nissenbaum and Julian E. Barnes, Wall Street Journal: One of the biggest risks is the possibility that U.S. airstrikes against Sunni militants could be viewed across the region as an attempt by America to tip the balance of power in favor of Shiite forces. That could imperil U.S. relations with key Middle East power brokers, including Saudi Arabia. President Obama has thus far resisted muscular U.S. military involvement in Syria. He has authorized a limited program to provide some Syrian rebels with antitank missiles and a modest program to train the anti-Assad forces.

ISIS Tries to Tweet Its Enemies Into Submission - Helle Dale,
Social media sites are the latest battleground in the war on terror. On June 20, the Sunni terrorist group ISIS, which is on a rampage in northern Syria and Iraq, launched a Twitterstorm under the hashtag #AllEyesOnIsis.

It was aimed to appeal to impressionable Muslim youth, scare ISIS’s enemies on the ground, and intimidate the rest of the world. This is Propaganda 101. By some accounts, ISIS is becoming addicted to Twitter and is even receiving tweets of support with photos of everything from bloody limbs to pink cupcakes with  “ISIS we love you.” Image from entry

Isis steps up propaganda war with online magazine in English [subscription] - Tom Coghlan, Duncan Gardham and Leo Sefi, Isis is using an English language online magazine to lure recruits to Syria and Iraq by portraying the fighting as a mission to correct injustices from the First World War. The Islamic State Report is a ten-page publication

that tries to justify the group’s actions, gives accounts of battles and has images of killings with tabloid-style captions such as: “Rounded up for the slaughter.” Image from entry, with caption: A plastic Isis doll for sale online

Propaganda Wars: Russian Twitter Account Takes on American “Progress” in Iraq - Kevin Rothrock, Someone writing in Russian has issued the latest Internet challenge to the US government, launching a Twitter account named @IraqProgress. The account parodies one of the State Department’s official Twitter accounts, @UkrProgress, which is a Russian-language information feed Washington uses to counter Russian propaganda about events in Ukraine.

Whoever is behind the tweets is clearly implying that the United States observes a double standard when deciding whether to support mass insurgencies. Image from entry , with caption: Obama and Putin beside the ISIS flag and US State Department seal. Images mixed by author.

Use of Drones for Killings Risks a War Without End, Panel Concludes in Report - Mark Mazzetti, New York Times: The Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killings using armed drones risks putting the United States on a “slippery slope” into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for lethal operations that other countries might adopt in the future, according to a report by a bipartisan panel that includes several former senior intelligence and military officials. The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits. The report urges the administration to conduct such an analysis and to give a public accounting of both militants and civilians killed in drone strikes.

Belarusian Authorities Unable To Resist Russian Propaganda - Artyom Shraibman, The informational realm in which most of Belarusians live has never been truly Belarusian. Russian TV channels dominate in Belarus and always have. All of the Russian central federal channels that provide pro-Kremlin news – 1st Channel, "Russia" Channel, NTV and others – broadcast in Belarus. Belarusian state TV news coverage includes such channels as Belarus-1, Belarus-2, CTV and ONT. Though the proportion of Belarusian to Russian would at first glance appear almost equal, in fact TV audiences tend to trust Russian news over its domestic counterparts. Russian channels are much more well funded, look more professional and have historically been less biased, or to put it differently, not as straight-forward propagandistic as Belarusian TV. The latter has changed as of late, but public perception remains the same.

Chinese Documentary on Online Terrorism Links Propaganda Materials to Urumqi Attacks - Frida Palma, The Chinese government has linked the propaganda materials designed by East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to the recent attacks in China, including the violent incidents in Urumqi early this year. China’s State Internet Information Office (SIIO) released a documentary on Tuesday, showing the close relationship between the attacks in the region and the audio and video files published by ETIM.

DeKalb gallery exhibits classic war posters and propaganda - “Art from the Great Wars,” an exhibition of original art and significant posters

from World War I and World II from the collection of John Wright, will be on display at The Art Box, 308 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, Sunday through July 26. Image from entry

World War I Posters: The Graphic Art of Propaganda - Whether they were urging citizens to enlist in the Army, buy war savings stamps, support the Red Cross or join the war effort for “adventure and action,” the countless recruitment and propaganda posters produced during World War I — in every country engaged in the conflict — were marvels of graphic design. Some were shocking; many were beautiful; virtually all were created with one aim in mind:

to get the viewer to stop, read — and act. Here, on the 100th anniversary of the June 28, 1914, assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria — commonly cited as the action that precipitated WWI, the spark that lit the fuse — presents American posters that are not only aesthetically striking, but also capture the breezy nationalism (often slipping into jingoism) of the era. That the English, French (see below), Germans, Italians and virtually every other nation with soldiers in the fight created their own brand of similar propaganda only reinforces the old adage: in war, the first casualty is the truth. Image from entry

Old "Yellow Peril" Anti-Chinese Propaganda - Gwen Sharp, In the late 1800s, male Chinese immigrants were brought to the U.S. to work on the railroads and as agricultural labor on the West Coast; many also specialized in laundry services. Some came willingly, others were basically kidnapped and brought forcibly. After the transcontinental railroad was completed, it occurred to white Americans that Chinese workers no longer had jobs. They worried that the Chinese might compete with them for work. In response, a wave of anti-Chinese (and, eventually, anti-Japanese) sentiment swept the U.S. Chinese men were stereotyped as degenerate heroin addicts whose presence encouraged prostitution, gambling, and other immoral activities.  A number of cities on the West Coast experienced riots in which Whites attacked Asians and destroyed Chinese sections of town. Riots in Seattle in 1886 resulted in practically the entire Chinese population being rounded up and forcibly sent to San Francisco. Similar situations in other towns encouraged Chinese workers scattered throughout the West to relocate, leading to the growth of Chinatowns in a few larger cities on the West Coast. The anti-Asian movement led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Gentlemen’s Agreement (with Japan) of 1907, both of which severely limited immigration from Asia.  Support was bolstered with propaganda.

Image from entry, with note: Here is a vintage “Yellow Peril” poster. The white female victim at his feet references the fact that most Chinese in the U.S. were male–women were generally not allowed to immigrate–and this poster poses them as a threat to white women and white men’s entitlement to them

Trews News Vs. Faux Nooze ~ Russell Brand Breaks Down Jihadi Propaganda - In the video (part of thie entry), Russell Brand brilliantly breaks down Faux Nooze jihadi propaganda. He exposes the cartoonish propaganda of old paradigm super hero Justice Judge Jeanine. In reality, Justice Judge Jeanine (dun, dun, dunnn) is actually an extremist super villain in drag. When you exit the matrix, expand your consciousness and pierce the veil of this teleprompter reading fembot’s fancy facade, you’ll see a gun in the background and it will look and sound exactly like those grainy low-budget “jihadi infidel terrorist” videos that US propaganda outlets play to pollute collective consciousness and terrify (terrorize) the American public. All hyperbole aside, as Russell touches on, Fox News is, indeed, much more dangerous than the Iraqi ISIS militants. In fact, the mainstream media is the most effective weapon of mass oppression humanity has ever known. As my old friend Jacques Ellul concluded in his groundbreaking analysis of the social mind, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, “Propaganda is today a greater danger to mankind than any of the other more grandly advertised threats hanging over the human race.”

Freedom Wars’ Propaganda Idols Cover One Of Vocaloid Kagamine Rin’s Songs - Sato, So we’ve seen the trio of idols in Freedom Wars called the Propaganda Idols, a group of pop stars that use their catchy songs to make sure prisoners don’t get any crazy ideas. It looks like one of the girls from the group recently got her own solo hit.

The above is a look at the Propaganda Idols member Opti and her solo cover of the “Nananana” track, originally by the Vocaloid Kagamine Rin. The track was arranged by Freedom Wars composer Kemmei Adachi, alongside Vocaloid producer Tennen, a.k.a. Oppiroge P. Image from entry

'The Hunger Games' Releases Propaganda Trailer, Posters For 'Mockingjay'  [includes video]-  Erik Kain, Forbes: Advertising in the age of the internet presents its own unique challenges. Unlike pre-social-media days, everything is now under constant scrutiny. In a very real way, advertising has transformed much like media itself, becoming less one-sided and more conversational. The real trick—the Holy Grail, if you will—is for an ad to “go viral.” But that’s often easier said than done. The very nature of virality suggests an accidental fortune—Google's definition of the word: “the tendency of an image, video, or piece of information to be circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another; the quality or fact of being viral.” Marketing professionals continue to struggle with this concept.

While Gangnam Style or Angry Birds seem to go viral almost on their own, overnight, making an ad memorable is another challenge altogether. Going viral on purpose, it turns out, is really hard. The Hunger Games is taking a clever approach to its marketing campaign for Mockingjay: Part 1, the third film in the blockbuster series from Lionsgate (combined box office of over $1.5 billion worldwide for the first two films.) Rather than simply release movie trailers and posters advertising the film, the latest Hunger Games entry is releasing propaganda for the film’s fictional dictatorship, Panem. The latest trailer shows President Snow (Donald Sutherland) dressed all in white standing next to Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) against an all-white background. It’s not an ad for the film directly, but rather a message to all the districts in Panem explaining the benefits of a peaceful relationship with the Capitol—and the risks of rebellion. It’s perfectly creepy. Image from entry


Image from, with caption: The walls surrounding Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad were built by Americans as protection, but not could serve as traps


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