Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 15-19 Public Diplomacy Review

Abbreviated edition, due to your PDPBR compiler's increased teaching obligations 

“Propaganda is a pejorative term ...”

--Broadcasting Board of Governors [BBG] spokesperson Lynne Weil; image from

"[T]he Declaration of Independence is, in effect, a work of propaganda ..."

--Former BBG Chairman Walter Isaacson, in a July 4, 2004 New York Times article; on Isaacson, see.


The Nature of Truth, Art, and Propaganda in Photography - Michael Zhang, "[A]video in which acclaimed documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (the guy who directed The Fog of War) talks about the issue of truth in photography, and how he thinks we’ve forgotten that there’s a connection between photos to the physical world."


U.S. steps up public diplomacy in Egypt crisis - [15 Jul 2013]: "Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns

arrived in Cairo at a time of high anti-American sentiment on all sides in the crisis, as he tries to end a standoff." Uncaptioned Burns image from entry

The hidden costs of Egypt’s chaos: Lost cultural and educational exchange is one of the consequences of sustained political turmoil in Egypt’s case - Tara Sonenshine, "Egypt’s political pangs cause pain inside the country and around the world. What Egyptians need to remember, amidst all the chaos, is the need to keep their windows onto the world open. One of the hidden costs of Egyptian unrest — an opportunity cost rarely mentioned — is the potential loss of interaction with Americans and international students. Egypt’s public diplomacy bridges are critical in an age of globalisation. For the past few years the number of American students coming to study in Egypt has fallen (as have the number of tourists visiting the pyramids and monumental historic sites). Ironically, Egypt is swimming against the tide in a Middle East and North Africa region hosting more and more international students. According to the Institute of International Education’s 2012 Open Doors report, a number of countries in the Middle East have significantly expanded internationalisation efforts in recent years, and the mobility of young people is in both directions: inbound and outbound. ... Study abroad is a key pillar of building civil societies. People-to-people exchanges open windows onto the world for nations and citizens everywhere. ... Moreover, student exchanges generate valuable sources of income for both sides of the exchange. Last year international students contributed over $20 billion to the US economy. ... The writer is the former US undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, an office that oversees educational and culture exchanges."

Exchange student organization defends Palestinian student seeking admission to Northern York County School District - "Rami Amjad Yahya ... [a] West Bank native seeking to be a foreign exchange student in the Susquehanna Valley could be denied admission to the Northern York School District after some school board members have raised questions about his religious and political affiliations, some fearing he could bring anti-American sentiments to the region. ... The U.S. government-sponsored program with which Rami is involved is the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study which was created after 9/11 and is funded by the Department of State. It provides scholarships to students from countries with significant Muslim populations so that they can spend up to one academic year in the United States. The program, founded by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. Richard Lugar, aims to provide opportunities for Americans and those from Muslim countries to engage with each other in hopes of fostering a level of understanding that may not have been present before." Via MP by email

Exchange program needs more Fresno families - Hannah Furfaro - "About 19 young high-flyers from primarily former Soviet block countries are hoping to spend next school year in the Fresno area through a competitive U.S. State Department exchange program. But there’s a catch: only one family in Fresno has volunteered to host a teen, leaving the remaining 18 in limbo. The program is free to the students and 100% merit-based. The students undergo rigorous testing including English proficiency assessments and go through several interviews and essay contests. Last year, only 800 students out of 40,000 applicants were picked. 'They are looking for future leaders, it’s a public diplomacy type thing,' said Joshua Marple, one of the coordinators for the nonprofit World Link, which runs the program. 'They are bringing these kids over to give them a U.S. experience and they figure when they go home, they are someday probably going to be in leadership positions.' The U.S. State Department chips in for the students’ plane tickets, but host families are expected to cover the costs of taking on an extra 16 or 17-year-old for ten months. But now it’s crunch time. The students are supposed to arrive in August and the program coordinators are still waiting for families to volunteer. 'They will not have their plane tickets until they get placed, but they have been accepted into the program and gone through all the testing,' said Amanda Martella, also a World Link coordinator. 'They’ve done everything they have to do, so they’re basically waiting for their phone call to say they’ve found a host family.'”

Don't Devalue Exchange Programs in Immigration Reform - Michael J. Petrucelli, "Comprehensive immigration reform is a large and complex task. As legislation makes its way through the necessary processes, all sorts of compromises will be made in order to end up with a final product that most can agree on. Along the way, however, it will be important to remain mindful of those things that add value to the nation. While most of the current attention is focused on fixing what is broken with the U.S. immigration system, there are any number of existing elements that work well. One of them is the J-1 Exchange Visitor program. For more than 50 years, millions of young adult cultural visitors from around the globe have participated in America’s Exchange Visitors Program, and have returned to their home countries with a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, American culture and values. Many of these high-caliber participants are future politicians, journalists and professors, and large numbers of them come from countries of strategic importance to the United States such as Brazil, China, India, Russia and Turkey. In a very real sense, the Exchange Visitors Program has been a key component of U.S. public diplomacy. Language in the current Senate draft of the immigration reform bill would treat cultural exchange programs (like international internships, au pair programs, camp counselors and Summer Work Travel programs) in the same way as non-immigrant labor programs (like migrant farm workers, 'Deadliest Catch' fishing boat crews and construction crews). It also subjects every participating entity in the cultural exchange process to such onerous, duplicative additional participation and reporting requirements as to raise the cost of participation to untenable levels and will lead to wholesale host abandonment of these public diplomacy programs. This seems at odds with the larger sentiment of immigration reform legislation, which is to strip away layers of bureaucracy and cumbersome regulation rather than to augment them. Altering J-1 visas in this manner also creates confusion for the U.S. officials charged with managing this program, making their jobs more difficult at the same time that they are being asked to absorb even larger changes to the administration of immigration law. It also gives non-U.S. citizen Exchange Visitors full access to the U.S. courts for civil suits, including jury trials, access to free legal services and class action suits, with civil fines and penalties up to $500,000 assessed against these U.S. cultural exchange organizations. It also requires the international partner agencies to subject themselves to the jurisdiction of these U.S. courts, in addition to their existing liability in their home countries. While this will be a boon for trial lawyers, it will only add complexity and unnecessary extra regulation to the U.S. immigration system and increase the burden to the domestic legal system in the United States. The specter of litigation alone could cause U.S. citizens and U.S. institutions, and especially the critical foreign partner institutions, to turn away from the program in large numbers and cut participation in half. Hence the challenge of restructuring a body of law as lengthy and complex as the U.S. tax code. As the debate about comprehensive immigration reform continues and the body politic considers what should be in and what should be out, we should be careful to preserve those existing programs and policies that actually add value."

Exploitation Isn't 'Cultural Exchange' - Jennifer J. Rosenbaum, "In a July 15 Roll Call opinion piece, 'Don’t Devalue Exchange Programs in Immigration Reform,' Michael Petrucelli argues that the Senate immigration bill was wrong to include basic labor protections for the more than 100,000 student guestworkers who come to the U.S. each year through the J-1 visa program. Petrucelli argues that these workers aren’t really workers, but cultural exchange participants, and that the J-1 Exchange Visitor program isn’t really a guestworker program, but a tool of public diplomacy. Mr. Petrucelli’s view of the program is several decades behind the times. The J-1 program was created in 1965 as a Cold War-era diplomatic tool—a way to convince young visitors from around the world of the virtues of American culture. But today’s J-1 student guestworkers know what even program staff now admit: the J-1 program has been transformed by employers into a vast, poorly regulated, low-wage temp worker program, where severe exploitation is par for the course. That’s precisely why immigration reform needs to extend basic labor protections to future J-1 guestworkers — together with all immigrant workers. ... The State Department made some changes to the J-1 Summer Work Travel program to try to curb employer abuse, including barring the construction, manufacturing and food processing industries from the program. Acknowledging how far the program had fallen from its original purpose, the State Department said that future job placements 'must provide opportunities for participants to interact regularly with U.S. citizens and experience U.S. culture during the work portion of their programs.' The changes didn’t go far enough. This February, another major case of J-1 program abuse emerged at McDonald’s restaurants in Central Pennsylvania. Again, in place of 'cultural exchange,' student guestworkers from around the world faced sub-minimum wage pay and overpriced, substandard housing. The abuse sparked a day of protest against McDonald’s labor abuse in more than 30 countries this June."

Program connects European and U.S. high school students - Camille Burch, "[T]he Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute ... program brought in a group of 45 high school juniors and seniors – 10 from the U.S. and 35 from almost every European country – to learn through classes and activities in addition to one another. Started in 2006, the program began to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth by promoting his interests in science, diplomacy and journalism. This year Purdue is one of only two universities, the other being Wake Forest University, in the U.S. to host the institute, thanks to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs as well as a significant contribution from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Aside from hoping students take new skills back to their home countries or states, the program aims to enable students in the U.S. and Europe to discover common values they may not realize exist. It is a smart public diplomacy program that engages young Americans and Europeans with the world around them."

Fiddler on the Roof in Kurdistan - Paul Rockower, Huffington Post: "With just a bit of trepidation, I set off in early June last year for Iraq. I was to be there for five weeks, running performing arts academies in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. I was working as the Communications Director for American Voices, a nonprofit organization that conducts cultural diplomacy to countries emerging from conflict or isolation. This was to be the sixth year of cultural programming in Iraq. On this trip, we held a two-weekYouth Excellence on Stage (YES) Academy Iraq program in the city of Duhok in northern Kurdistan. For two weeks, American Voices offered performing arts lessons to 300 Iraqis from across the country. Classes were taught in the areas of jazz, piano, classical symphony, theater and hip hop and bromareakdance. I was essentially the Assistant Director of the YES Academy, and a veritable public diplomacy camp counselor. We also held smaller mini-YES Academies for close to a week in both Baghdad and Kirkuk -- the latter of which I ran as well."

The Cultural Diplomacy Living Room – Paul Rockower, Levantine: “Check out this amazing interview with American Music Abroad Ens[e]mble Kyle Dillingham and Horseshoe Road on the program The Living Room (starts around 15min).”

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans - John Hudson, Foreign Policy: "Until this month, a vast ocean of U.S. programming produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors such as Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks could only be viewed or listened to at broadcast quality in foreign countries. The programming varies in tone and quality, but its breadth is vast: It's viewed in more than 100 countries in 61 languages. ... The restriction of these broadcasts was due to the Smith-Mundt Act, a long-standing piece of legislation that has been amended numerous times over the years, perhaps most consequentially by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. In the 1970s, Fulbright was no friend of VOA and Radio Free Europe, and moved to restrict them from domestic distribution, saying they 'should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics.' Fulbright's amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky, who argued that such 'propaganda" should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. "from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.' Zorinsky and Fulbright sold their amendments on sensible rhetoric: American taxpayers shouldn't be funding propaganda for American audiences. So did Congress just tear down the American public's last defense against domestic propaganda? BBG spokeswoman Lynne Weil insists BBG is not a propaganda outlet, and its flagship services such as VOA present 'fair and accurate news.' ... [F]or BBG officials, the references to Pentagon propaganda efforts are nauseating, particularly because the Smith-Mundt Act never had anything to do with regulating the Pentagon, a fact that was misunderstood in media reports in the run-up to the passage of new Smith-Mundt reforms in January. ... That of course doesn't leave the BBG off the hook if its content smacks of agitprop. But now that its materials are allowed to be broadcast by local radio stations and TV networks, they won't be a complete mystery to Americans." See the commentary on this article's headline by Paul Rockower, Levantine.

Op-Ed: I'm not afraid of Voice of America news in the US, but . . .  -  Ted Lipien, "If the lifting of the Smith-Mundt restrictions on domestic distribution of VOA programs can expose more Americans to VOA programs, I am all for it. I do not necessarily believe that domestic distribution will have a major impact in the U.S., but it can have a negative impact if resources are diverted from producing news for foreign audiences and wasted on the bureaucracy."

Smith-Mundt Retool is Great News for VOA - James Thomas Snyder,  "The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act recently went into effect, which has public diplomacy wonks and civil liberties experts worried about the loosening of the 1948 law that both established the Voice and limited its ability to 'propagandize' American citizens. (They may have forgotten for a moment that just as quietly the Defense Department began making available its own Armed Forces Network broadcasts on the Pentagon Channel, available now to most cable providers.) But this domestic access is great news for the Voice of America, the embattled foreign broadcast arm of the U.S. government. Because now that American broadcasters, cable networks and satellite dish service providers – and who knows, Hulu? – can have access to VOA shows, the Voice will at last be able to build a domestic audience.

And with that, a political constituency, which is critical to how the broadcaster survives and flourishes. For those not familiar with the Smith-Mundt Act, the law established the Voice of America and several affiliated 'grantee' entities – eventually Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Radio/TV Martí, and the Middle East Broadcasting Network – after World War II under the U.S. Information Service to broadcast news and commentary to parts of the world that either lacked a robust press or whose press was completely controlled by their governments. It is a sad state of affairs that VOA is still needed after the Cold War. But as a result it has a devoted audience of tens of millions around the world. In fact, in reach and languages, VOA and its contact affiliates, VOA rivals the BBC. The Broadcasting Board of Governors puts its audience at 203 million weekly in more than 45 languages. But for those who know and love the BBC for its programming (I’m thinking of you, Downton Abbey  fans), and were delighted to hear the BBC World Service on AM radio while abroad, there the similarities end. The BBC is an virtually a media monopoly in Great Britain, and its foreign broadcasting arm takes full advantage of that position. VOA, on the other hand, is not even a foreign extension of PBS or NPR (themselves wholly independent 501(c)(3)s funded indirectly, and in part, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting), and which hardly have the enviable position in the United States that the BBC has in the United Kingdom. But in this context, the VOA’s achievement abroad is all the more extraordinary. Unfortunately, because it has no domestic presence, the Voice has virtually no public exposure – and as a result, no one willing to fight for it – in the United States. As an example, when I visited VOA headquarters in Washington as a tourist last year, I joined a group that included an American family from New England – NPR affiliate broadcasters, no less – and an Iranian-American couple who brought their in-laws from Tehran to visit. The New Englanders were hazily familiar with the Voice. The Iranian/American family were huge fans, particularly of VOA’s 'Daily Show'-like weekly broadcast 'Parazit'. This was the young couple’s third visit to the headquarters. If anyone would go to the mat for VOA, it would be the visitors from Iran. But they don’t have a vote in Congress. State-side broadcasting could build that kind of fan base – a domestic, voting constituency – for the Voice in the United States. With more people watching and invested in VOA’s mission and programming, more resources will be in the offing. And with that, any concern about “propagandizing” will evaporate as well. The Voice has never been a propaganda outlet – it hires the best journalists in the world, and its reportorial mandate is above reproach – and it couldn’t give the BBC such a run for its money if it were. Anyway, an American audience would sniff out propaganda right away. But especially for the growing immigrant communities in the United States, who crave news from the old country, the Voice will provide them information they have a hard time coming by. That investment will help keep the Voice relevant and strong amid the increasing din of rumor and hearsay that constitutes international news coverage." Image from entry, with caption: Ronald Reagan spoke often through VOA during his presidency (via Alvin Snyder, no relation)

The Case for American Propaganda: Complain all you want. But Uncle Sam produces better journalism than most of you yahoos - Rosa Brooks, Foreign Policy: "[T]his week saw yet another manifestation of our national paranoia about The Government. Late in 2012, Congress passed the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act, and in January 2013, President Obama signed it into law. The act repealed a Cold War-era prohibition on disseminating government information produced for foreign audiences inside the United States. As of July 1, when the repeal took effect, radio and TV programs designed for non-U.S. audiences, such as those produced by Voice of America, can now be re-broadcast in the United States. The sky is falling! Left and right are temporarily united over the horror of 'government propaganda' hitting the U.S. airwaves. ... [T]he 'government propaganda' that will supposedly flood the country as a result of the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act is produced to a markedly higher journalistic standard than most of what passes for news here in the United States. ... Let's dispel some myths about the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act.

First, it has zero effect on the CIA or on the Pentagon; Smith-Mundt only covers information programs produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). ... Second, the ban on domestic dissemination of BBG TV and radio shows was simply unworkable in the age of the Internet. ... Third, the TV and radio programs produced by the BBG (a descendent of the old U.S. Information Agency (USIA), which closed shop in 1999) are actually pretty good -- and they're editorially independent of State Department control. The BBG is an independent federal agency with a bipartisan board. Its mandate is to produce programming that is 'reliable and authoritative, accurate, objective, and comprehensive,' as well as 'consistent with the broad foreign policy objectives of the United States.' And when they say "broad," they mean broad, to include 'a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions' and 'responsible discussion and opinion on U.S. policy. ... By and large, the BBG produces serious, responsible journalism, and if a little more of that journalism makes it into the United States, we'll all get a little smarter." Uncaptioned image from article; see also John Brown, "The real problem with the Modernized Smith-Mundt Act: its "zero effect on the CIA or the Pentagon"," Notes and Essays

Foreign Policy article with IBB propaganda on the Smith-Mundt Act challenged by former Voice of America journalist - BBGWatcher, "Foreign Policy magazine published in its online National Security section an article written by Prof. Rosa Brooks that reads almost like one of government press releases put out by the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB), a federal bureaucracy in charge of managing Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts for overseas audiences and since recently also for audiences in the United States thanks to a change in the so-called domestic propaganda ban law, the Smith-Mundt Act which was replaced with the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act. ... Ted Lipien, a former Voice of America acting associate director, posted a comment under the article. In his comment he points out some of the inaccurate and misleading information being put out by U.S. government officials within IBB. ... [']It is not true that before the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act was passed, Americans, other residents in the United States and American media outlets could not access, use and rebroadcast Voice of America (VOA) programs. They were able to do all of this before. It was perfectly legal. There were no restrictions on the domestic use of VOA broadcasts. ... Any citizen or resident in the United States could have accessed VOA programs on the Internet, used, republished and rebroadcast them without any restrictions. The only thing that U.S. government officials could not do before was to assist in providing these programs to Americans who may have asked for them. ... In terms of audience engagement through social media, Russia Today, Al Jazeera and BBC can get tens of thousands of Facebook 'Likes,' Tweets, Google+ and readers’ comments to barely a few dozen for top seven news stories on the VOA English website. There is probably the reason government officials wanted to get the power to distribute programs to Americans. They could not claim that (domestic) audience before, but they can do it now. They were doing very poorly abroad before because of bad management. The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act will allow them to even further neglect their overseas mission."

Americans Finally Have Access to American Propaganda - Elspeth Reeve,  "A law went into effect this month that ends the ban on U.S. government-made propaganda from being broadcast to Americans. In a remarkably creative spin, the supporters of this law say that allowing Americans to see American propaganda is actually a victory for transparency.  As Foreign Policy's John Hudson explains, the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 went into effect July 2, and allows government-made news — which includes products like Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks — to reach Americans. In the 1970s Sen. William Fulbright said these outlets 'should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics' because, as he and his allies argued, U.S. taxpayers should not have to pay for propaganda directed at them. But now these agencies say that's actually unfair to taxpayers. Broadcasting Board of Governors spokeswoman Lynne Weil told FP it's actually best for taxpayers to be able to see the propaganda, so they can serve as a check on it.  'Now Americans will be able to know more about what they are paying for with their tax dollars--greater transparency is a win-win for all involved,' she said. Likewise, a former government official said: 'Previously, the legislation had the effect of clouding and hiding this stuff…. Now we'll have a better sense: Gee, some of this stuff is really good. Or gee, some of this stuff is really bad. At least we'll know now.' To be clear, only State Department-made news, not Pentagon-made news, will be available to Americans. Who are the targets? One example, Foreign Policy explains, is the Somali community in St. Paul, Minnesota. In Somalia, there are three choices for news, a government source said: 'word of mouth, Al-Shabaab or VOA Somalia.' While that's not true in Minnesota, the government still wants to reach Somalis: 'Those people can get Al-Shabaab, they can get Russia Today, but they couldn't get access to their taxpayer-funded news sources like VOA Somalia... It was silly.' Update: Weil strongly disputes that the Broadcasting Board of Governors programs are propaganda; she maintains its outlets 'present fair and accurate news' (as she told Foreign Policy) and it employs many people who've worked as independent journalists to produce, as the official history of Radio Free Liberty and Radio Liberty reads, 'a professional substitute for the free media' in countries where citizens wouldn't otherwise get them.  In a statement

to The Atlantic Wire, Weil writes, 'The professional journalists supported by the BBG are tasked with presenting accurate and objective news and information for audiences in many countries where it is difficult or impossible to receive locally-produced, uncensored or unbiased programs. They provide responsible discussion and open debate in places where this is rare in the media. To call these efforts ‘propaganda’ is a misuse of the term and an affront to our journalists, many of whom put themselves at great risk for this work.' But these activities are governed by the original Smith-Mundt Act [PDF], or the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948, which authorized the State Department to create 'an information service to disseminate abroad information about the United States, its people, and policies promulgated by the Congress, the President, the Secretary of State and other responsible officials of Government having to do with matters affecting foreign affairs.' Because of fears that a government program pushing its foreign affairs agenda would amount to domestic propaganda, the original act spelled out that it was only authorizing the 'dissemination abroad.' And it is that restriction against domestic propaganda, which predates many of the programs overseen by the BBG, and indeed the BBG itself, that has been lifted by the new law, which refers to the media activities as part of the State Department and BBG's 'public diplomacy information programs.'" Image from article

US Government-Funded News Comes Home - Jared Metzker, "On Jul. 2, a change to the US Information and Educational Exchange Act, also known as the Smith-Mundt Act, came into effect, reversing a ban on the State Department and US international broadcasting agencies which had prevented them from disseminating their program materials within US borders. ... Opponents complain government-sponsored news being delivered domestically is akin to propaganda, but the BBG argues that it actually represents an advance for US transparency, as citizens not deserves noting, however, that US citizens have always had access to BBG material through the Internet. ... Unlike traditional, independent news sources, the BBG has on its board representatives from the State Department and is funded entirely with tax dollars designated for 'public diplomacy'. '[P]ublic diplomacy,' according to the University of Southern California (USC) Center on Public Diplomacy, 'was developed partly to distance overseas governmental information activities from the term ‘propaganda’, which had acquired pejorative connotations.'"

Now Legalized, US Propaganda Swears It’s ‘Fair and Accurate’ - John Glaser, "In May of last year I noted at this blog reports that an amendment had been slipped into the 2013 NDAA bill that nullified two U.S. laws - the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 – that ban domestic propaganda. This month marks the official repeal. ... The problem is, those engaged in propaganda for the government always deny – and indeed are virtually never aware – that they are engaged in propaganda. Today’s cable news companies, many of them owned by rent-seeking corporations with close ties and interests to the state, engage in propaganda all the time and continuously believe they are independent minds who report in a ‘fair and accurate’ way. ... A primer on the history of U.S. propaganda might help in convincing Americans that propaganda isn’t just another one of those horrible things that every other government does but ours is different, better. ... For those who still doubt we’re at greater risk now, the question arises: why were these laws repealed? The BBG spokesman admits they want to target, for example, Somali expats, to give them an alternative to the Al-Shabab propaganda and outlets like Russia Today. Hm."

US Ends Ban On Domestic Propoganda [sic]- "The idea that the American government would use propaganda to persuade its own citizens is a sensitive idea, especially at a time when the popularity of the president and Congress are both low."

American Government Propaganda Is Not Actually Propaganda, Says Government Official - Kris E. Benson, Wonkette: "Over half of Americans think of Edward Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor. Should the government: a) take a serious look at the country, its policies, and the general desires of the American people to consider how its institutions can better tailor their various goals and strategies to people’s needs or b) convince the American people that their opinions, needs, and desires are wrong. The answer, of course, is b) convince the American people that their opinions, needs, and desires are wrong. From Foreign Policy: For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January.

The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened? Ah, what just happened indeed. Probably the government realized that it was far easier to TELL people what to think and then do that than to find out what people think, and do that. ... Where will be seeing this propaganda, you might wonder, and how will we actually be able to identify it, given that the lamestream media is often so invested (implicitly or explicitly) in promoting the status quo that it becomes inseparable from whatever agenda the government is promoting? However, Broadcasting Board of Governors spokeswoman Lynne Weil said to call the broadcasts 'propaganda' would be an insult to the journalists who create its content, who sometimes put their lives at risk to do so." Image from entry

New Law 'Allows Obama To Take Over All Media': 'Your government is acting in open, undeclared, but blatant treason' - Joe Kovacs, "An online radio host is sounding the alarm over a brand-new law he claims grants the federal government massive new powers to saturate Americans with domestic propaganda at U.S. taxpayer expense. 'This law allows the federal government to have sweeping power to push television, radio, newspaper and social-media propaganda onto the U.S. public,' warns Michael Evans of America’s Voice Now. ‘It removes protection for Americans from the ideological diarrhea that will pour forth from this administration like ejected vomit.’ ... The U.S. government has been in the business of broadcasting news and opinions into foreign countries through such famous outlets as the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. But now, critics believe millions of dollars will be spent by the government trying to influence citizens within its own borders.See also.

Propaganda Ban Repealed As Government Made News Floods U.S. - DSWright, "Have you ever wondered what America’s official propaganda is like? You will not have to wonder much longer as the ban on the U.S. government propagandizing American citizens has been quietly lifted .You may soon be hearing and seeing government made news, though you might not always know it was government made. While the Department of Defense does what it pleases in any case, the ban was diluted somewhat in 1987 to mostly just cover official State Department 'public diplomacy.'

That restriction is now completely removed with taxpayer funded public diplomacy PR campaigns now coming back at taxpayers. America now has official state media which will make things interesting if it becomes involved in political debates. More dangerous is the effect of a well funded alleged news organization pumping out reports endlessly. Given the diminishing infrastructure of the media establishment, especially newspapers, might not a lot of these stories be unthinkingly repeated in the non-government media?" Image from entry

US Government-Funded Domestic Propaganda Has Officially Hit The Airwaves - "Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a highly-respected officer who released a critical report regarding the distortion of truth by senior military officials in Iraq and Afghanistan. Davis stated that the effective repeal of the Smith-Mundt Act is a strategic move in influencing U.S. public perception in regards to the Global War on Terror (GWOT). He cites Colonel Richard B. Leap, who recommends that lawmakers 'specifically address all prior legislation beginning with the Smith-Mundt Act that is limiting the effectiveness of Information organizations in the GWOT environment.' From Lt. Col. Davis: ['] In context, Colonel Leap is implying we ought to change the law to enable Public Affairs officers to influence American public opinion when they deem it necessary to 'protect a key friendly center of gravity, to wit US national will.' [']

The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012 appears to serve this purpose by allowing for the American public to be a target audience of U.S. government-funded information campaigns. Davis also quotes Brigadier General Ralph O. Baker — the Pentagon officer responsible for the Department of Defense’s Joint Force Development — who defines Information Operations (IO) as activities undertaken to 'shape the essential narrative of a conflict or situation and thus affect the attitudes and behaviors of the targeted audience.' Brig. Gen. Baker goes on to equate descriptions of combat operations with the standard marketing strategy of repeating something until it is accepted: ['] For years, commercial advertisers have based their advertisement strategies on the premise that there is a positive correlation between the number of times a consumer is exposed to product advertisement and that consumer’s inclination to sample the new product. The very same principle applies to how we influence our target audiences when we conduct COIN.['] And those 'thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs' appear to serve Baker's strategy, which states: 'Repetition is a key tenet of IO execution, and the failure to constantly drive home a consistent message dilutes the impact on the target audiences.' So it appears the new content stream is an outlet for 'uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate,' as Weil told FP, as well as a vehicle for U.S. Information Operations. * Weil, the BBG spokeswoman, provided this comment on the unnamed source's comments: 'The new law makes no change to the BBG’s enabling statute, the U.S. International Broadcasting Act of 1994, which authorizes the BBG to create programs for audiences overseas – a fact that is stated in the new legislation. It does not authorize the BBG to create programs for audiences in the United States, nor do we seek to do that. It also does not authorize the BBG to begin broadcasting in the United States, and we do not seek to do that, either. Rather, the new law lets our broadcasters respond positively to requests from within the United States for their programs. This would conceivably allow residents of émigré communities – many from areas in conflict —access to reliable, broadcast-quality news of their home countries and elsewhere in their native languages upon request. It will also facilitate global connectivity and engagement and provide greater transparency into publicly-funded broadcasting.'" Image from article, with caption: 1948 propaganda Santa

Media - Freedom is always the right answer: A libertarian blog - "The US sponsors propaganda news reporting to promote its interest around the world. Now it will broadcast that propaganda in the US. "Unlike traditional, independent news sources, the BBG has on its board representatives from the State Department and is funded entirely with tax dollars designated for 'public diplomacy'. That's code for propaganda. The CIA uses the BBG for psyops. More on link between BBG and psyops."

On his Russia Today program the Keiser Report, the host rages against the “scum” and “financial terrorists” - "[Comment by:] Flopot says: ... Retrospective legislation? ;-) This is the interesting bit… 'In fact, as amended in 1987, the act only covers portions of the State Department engaged in public diplomacy abroad'. Is 'public diplomacy' a euphemism for State Department backed foreign coups? And what is the relationship between this department and the Pentagon? I wouldn’t be surprised if the State Department is a conduit for Pentagon propaganda."

Broadcasting Board of Governors to be US “Ministry of Truth”, Next Step in Information War - Voices from Russia:  "In what looks like a desperate move by the US government to manipulate and misinform the US populace due to the waning popularity of Congress, the Intelligence Community, the ‘War’ Department, and the President, on 2 July the US government quietly lifted a prohibition on allowing government-produced propaganda to be directed at Americans inside the USA. The new ‘modifications’ to the Smith-Mundt Act will allow propaganda produced by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the propaganda arm of the US government, which broadcasts Voice of America and Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, to be fed to and directed at the American populace.

That is, in their words, ‘they’ll provide access’ to their ‘material’ so Americans can see what’s being broadcast abroad. ... The wording of the legislation and the ease by which it will be manipulated will soon make Americans the subject of Ministry of Truth-type propaganda. Not only will your news be filtered, Americans, as it is now, but now it’ll also be cleverly manufactured. At this point, the only hope for Americans is that the US State Department, which controls the BBG, is as inept as ‘winning the hearts and minds’ of Americans as they are at winning the hearts and minds of the rest of the world. There was probably a good reason why it was illegal for the US State Department to broadcast ‘internally-authored news stories’ that are broadcast around the world by US government-controlled and -financed broadcasters. However, in the name of ‘security’ and ‘terror’, Americans have been conned into letting another right fall to the wayside through the passing of this new law. Image from article

Good news: USA propaganda will now play to all Americans - Jeff John Roberts, "The American government every week produces thousands of hours of radio and TV broadcasts but, until this month, a so-called anti-propaganda law forbid the US from directing any of this content at domestic audiences. Now, though, an update to the Cold War era law known as the Smith-Mundt Act means that content from outlets like Voice of America and Radio Free Europe — which create shows in 61 languages for more than 100 countries — can flow to American ears. ... Meanwhile, government-funded broadcasting is long-established in other English-speaking countries like Canada and Great Britain, where the BBC is not only a feature of public life but an important source of diplomatic power too. In any case, the plurality of voices in the internet age means it’s harder for any single outlet to have the impact of World War II era propagandists

like Tokyo Rose, whose habit of playing U.S. hits made her broadcasts popular with U.S. servicemen." Uncaptioned Rose image from entry

Greenwald “Blasts Media, MSNBC Over Edward Snowden Stories” (w/fmr. Sen. Humphrey's Update) - Includes reader exchanges on the Smith-Mundt Modernization bill.

The Case for Mediated Public Diplomacy - Guy J. Golan, "Generally speaking, mediated public diplomacy refers to governmental attempts at influencing the manner in which its foreign policies are framed in the global media. Since most people learn about foreign affairs from the news media as opposed to first-hand experience, successful frame promotion is key to gaining favorable global public opinion. ... The influence of global media over public opinion is unquestionable. Yet, the United States does not currently utilize international broadcasting as an integral part of a strategic global public diplomacy strategy. America’s global broadcasting arm, the Broadcast Board of Governors (BBG) is dedicated to the promotion of global press freedom while safeguarding the editorial independence of its broadcast entities. Many of its reporters are local journalists and many of its programs are focused on lifestyle and popular culture. America’s rivals actively use their broadcasting channels to frame and interpret American culture, political values and policy according to their own political interests. At the same time, the United States hopes to promote its soft power through educational and cultural exchange programs, and the global dominance of its pop culture. Lacking a comprehensive mediated public diplomacy strategy, the United State is allowing its global reputation to be defined by others. ... Many in the State Department will argue that its '21st Century Statecraft' social media strategy could help the United States define its soft power by creating a two way mutually beneficial government to citizen communication channel. There is little evidence to indicate that social media has trumped broadcast media channels as key sources of information. Cases in point are the revolutions of the Arab Spring where Al Jazeera helped interpret and define the state of events at times when governments completely blocked all social media access. I believe that in order to successfully compete in the current media landscape, the United States should revamp its international broadcasting strategy around a systematic, research-based, mediated public diplomacy approach. Much like in a political campaign, the U.S. should conduct formative research to identify its key stakeholders. It should then develop an appropriate campaign message strategy. It should train and promote communication experts to articulate this message strategy within and outside of its global broadcasting networks. America’s communication strategy should be led by an undersecretary of public diplomacy who will act as the campaign manager and oversee a communication and research team who will execute and evaluate the global communication effort. ... Guy J. Golan, PhD, is an associate professor of public diplomacy at the S.I. Newhouse School of Syracuse University."

How the world is saving the shark - Tara Sonnenshine, "Whether it is shark fin soup or ivory piano keys, killing animals is big business. Together with international partners, conservation groups, nonprofits and businesses, the United States is leading the worldwide effort to reduce demand for high-end jewelry, herbal medicines, skins, foods and other products that rely on killing animals and marine life. Working with governments through existing protocols and conventions, the U.S. is convening stakeholders to pressure those who provide sanctuary for the poachers or allow parts and goods to make their way out of countries to market. Public diplomacy and public education, together with sound policy, give us a model for success. Using Facebook, Twitter, public service advertisements, the media, celebrity interviews, videos and classroom teaching, we can martial the forces to convince consumers that buying products that come from slaughtered elephants or harpooned sharks is simply wrong and dangerous. And we can track the results of wildlife trafficking and punish the offenders. This is one of those rare international tales of where the public and private sector, along with Hollywood, can create a very different kind of movie. Tara D. Sonenshine is the former US Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and a former PSA Board Member.

From One Glass Ceiling to the Next: After a productive tenure at the State Department, Tara Sonenshine asks: when can successful women finally rest on their laurels without feeling guilty? - Tara Sonenshine, Daily Beast: "Women struggle with pride. It is hard to be proud of yourself for being a woman leader. I have served twice now in senior foreign-policy positions in a field still dominated by men. But still I marvel at the other women and the fact that three out of the last four secretaries of State have been women. ... I heard a news story on WTOP. It was about  'Molly Marine.' At first, I thought it was a new doll on the market.

Then I realized it was a story from Virginia where a new statue of a woman Marine has been unveiled at the National Museum of Marine Corps. My heart nearly skipped a beat with, yes, pride—pride at the thought of a uniformed woman broadly standing shoulder-to-shoulder with her male colleagues in the parking lot of a museum where all those young kids would be coming. Molly Marine gives me courage—the courage to admit that I have had my turn as a woman diplomat and I can pause a moment and take great comfort in that. ... Tara D. Sonenshine served as undersecretary of State for public diplomacy and public affairs from April 2012 to July 2013." Image from article, with caption: The author (left) and Molly Marine, the first monument in the United States of a woman in service uniform, in New Orleans.

Latin American Countries Recall Ambassadors From Spain, France, Italy And Portugal Over Snowden "Neo-Colonial" Flap - Tyler Durden, Tyler Durden: "The global fallout from the Snowden affair continues to reverberate following the latest news that four Latin American countries - Brazil, Argentina, Urugay and Venezuela - announced on Friday they would recall their ambassadors

from the countries that blocked their airspace to Bolivia's Evo Morales following false rumors he was carrying Snowden, forcing an emergency landing in Austria. The four countries said this incident violated international law. As a result of Obama's "neo-colonial" practices in Europe, as Uruguay's foreign minister Luis Almagro denounces Europe's servile compliance withpax AmericaNSA, the Mercosur ambassadors in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal will be pulled back for consultations. ... [Comment by:] "Dewey Cheatum Howe [:] That is an absolutely blatant piece of public diplomacy bullshit. They landed because they had to refuel to complete the flight, being blocked from flying through certain countries airspace's only exacerbated the problem. There was no technical issues........ The noncritical thinking populace will buy the explanation hook, line, sinker since it sounds reasonable on the surface. This is why we are fucked and have these problems with our governments in the first place." Image from entry

Digital diplomacy: facing a future without borders: Simply by engaging in social media spaces, foreign ministries are entering a world more different than many realise, and changing how public diplomacy will work - Jimmy Leach, "The big shift that digital diplomacy gives us is not that governments are discussing policy on new platforms, it’s that they are discussing with new people. At the same time, those digital platforms have given birth to new networks, new groupings of people that were determined by something other than the traditional sense of nationhood. Some might be yolked together by region, rather than nation, or by religion, by economics, by gender, or by ideas. In the digital sphere, these groupings are every bit as legitimate, and often more vocal, than groupings decided by borders and flags. ... [A] diplomat has to engage with these groups – because they are possible challenges to the nation that he/she represents. There are a few challenges – you have to find them first. And you have to engage with them when they have no duty to engage with you. ... Digital diplomacy will no longer be about a certain élan on Twitter, it will be about identifying non-state actors and the channels of their choice, with which to monitor and engage with them to form new relationships. For the UK, its biggest foreign policy challenges do not just lie with rogue states, but with rogue ideas (and the links between the two)."

Diplomats—Get Into Data - Ali Fisher, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: "Identifying the opportunity which big data presents is not to suggest that diplomats are currently without knowledge, great nuance, and understanding. Equally, as Kate Crawford highlighted in a recent Foreign Policy article, the numbers do not speak for themselves. Data needs interpreting by those with a nuanced understanding of the context and the imagination to identify insights and develop innovative strategies. 

It would be as absurd to suggest that diplomacy should be conducted only on the basis of big data. However, it would be equally absurd to conduct public diplomacy without using big data when it is available. The greatest opportunity for influence comes from the synthesis of big data insights with the nuance, experience and understanding developed by generations of diplomats." Image from entry, with caption: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

United Nations' Security Council to debate protection of journalists - Olivier Laurent, "Launched on 22 February, A Day Without News? is an international campaign to 'draw sharper attention to the growing number of journalists who have been killed and injured in armed conflict, in some cases as a result of direct targeting by the belligerents; to develop a public diplomacy, institutional and legal agenda to combat this more effectively; and to investigate and collect evidence in support of prosecutable cases in this area'. Now, A Day Without News? has announced that one of its key objectives has been achieved, with the United Nations' Security Council pledging to debate the protection of journalists in war zones."

Somali Piracy Interview [scroll down link for item] - "The Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) is an international forum composed of nations with an interest in combatting the pirate threat. Given the number of navies currently engaged in patrols in the Gulf of Aden, a means of coordinating policy and operations has become necessary to avoid wasted effort and mutual misunderstandings. The CGPCS consists of five working groups, dealing with naval cooperation, legal issues, self-defensive actions, public diplomacy and the flow of illegal funds."

First civilian diplomatic corps launched for public diplomacy - "SEOUL ... The foreign ministry launched Wednesday the diplomatic corps, comprising civilians with diverse backgrounds and non-Koreans as part of efforts to strengthen public diplomacy. The corps with five groups as well as 30 individual adolescents and 20 senior citizens plan to push for diverse projects with the government's support to improve the national image abroad and to help increase its influence on the international arena. The first-ever civilian diplomatic corps is part of the government's drive for soft-power diplomacy after it secured a related budget of 6.7 billion won (US$5.99 million) for the first time this year. ... 'The launch of the civilian diplomatic corps holds significance that the government and the people are joining hands for the public diplomacy,' the ministry said in a statement. 'The ministry expects diverse tips from the civilian diplomats coming from their vivid hands-on experience.' Later in the day, the ministry also plans to hold an opening ceremony for the public diplomacy cooperation center under the ministry's Cultural Affairs Bureau. The center, the first of its kind in the ministry, will be in charge of supporting diplomatic activities carried out by private entities, setting up a relevant online system, holding diverse contests for foreigners and creating promotion materials, among others, according to the ministry."

"Hasbara" courses at Israeli universities exposed in new report - Yara Sa'di, The Electronic Intifada: "Various Israeli academic institutions have introduced courses and programs on hasbara — the Hebrew-language term used to describe Israel’s attempts to re-brand its image as its occupation and military aggression makes it increasingly unpopular worldwide. A new report from the Academic Watch Project shows that instead of promoting critical thought and inquiry, these courses at academic institutions serve to promote the policies of the State of Israel and the whitewashing of its crimes.

The Academic Watch Project is a group of Palestinian students at Israeli academic institutions dedicated to exposing discrimination within Israeli academia and its connection with Israel’s military occupation and apartheid policies. 'A Word on Hasbara' aims to uncover the content of these courses and programs and their funding. It also seeks to reveal their connections with the ministries of foreign affairs and public diplomacy and international Zionist groups." Image from article, with caption: Tel Aviv University students hold anti-Palestinian signs during a protest of an event last year commemorating the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine

Israel’s Plague of Self-Censorship - Akiva Eldar, “[A] key lecture of professor Daniel Bar-Tal at the International Society of Political Psychology Summer Academy ...  took place from July 4 to July 7 at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya; Bar-Tal won the organization’s most prestigious prize. For the first time, Bar-Tal released findings of studies revealing the dimensions of the self-censorship plague in Israeli society. The data presented to hundreds of experts attending the convention from across the world — from Indonesia to Egypt, from the United States to India — are not particularly flattering to a state that prides itself on the title of “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Bar-Tal described a study showing that the Palmach members — the underground of the Jewish community during the British Mandate in Palestine — swore themselves to secrecy regarding immoral acts they committed in the 1948 ‘War of Independence.’ The writers of the history of this war in the Israeli Public Diplomacy Forum and its Chief Education Officer Command decided, on their own, to spare readers from reports regarding the expulsion of the Palestinians, even though the historical facts were known to them."

In a French fishing town, Holocaust bravery remembered: It took decades for France to come to terms with its role in the Holocaust, but stories of the country’s unsung heroes continue to emerge - Elhanan Miller, "3,667 French citizens [have been] accorded the title of ‘righteous gentiles’ by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust commemoration center, since 1963. The French Committee of Yad Vashem continues to receive testimonials of Jews saved by their non-Jewish neighbors, examines the evidence, and sends the documentation to Jerusalem for final approval. ... The Israeli embassy in Paris also regards the righteous gentile ceremonies as an effective means of public diplomacy. 'It’s a non-political way to create cooperation between France and Israel,' one embassy employee said."

Book to be released on Soft Power - "Speaking with IBNA, manager of Imam Sadegh University Press Mohammad Roshani said that the book considers countries like South Africa, Venezuela, South Korea and Russia as well. Soft power is a concept developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University to describe the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce, use force or give money as a means of persuasion.

Nye coined the term in a 1990 book, 'Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power', said Roshani. The book entails topics like damages of India’s politics, Qatar’s soft power, Turkey’s politics in the Middle East, Russia’s soft power, soft power and modern public diplomacy of Europe, soft power and the hard position of the EU, cultural diplomacy and soft power of Germany in Afghanistan, international educations and soft power regarding Canada’s foreign policy and soft power and social prowess. The work is put together by Mohsen Rouhani, a soft power expert at Imam Sadegh University, and will be presently published in the Iranian book market." Image from entry

Revamping the information service - Khawaja Maaz Tariq, "Of prime importance is the External Publicity (EP) Wing [of Pakistan's Ministry of Information], which carries out the function of public diplomacy. Public diplomacy is regarded as the framework of activities by which a government seeks to influence the public (especially foreign) attitudes in a manner that they become supportive of its foreign policy and national interests. It differs from traditional diplomacy in that public diplomacy goes beyond governments and interfaces primarily with non-governmental individuals and organisations, like businessmen, think-tanks, tourists, sport institutions, etc. Successful public diplomacy, thus, involves an active engagement with the public in a manner that builds over a period of time, a relationship of trust and credibility. The EP Wing strives to foster a greater understanding of Pakistan and its foreign policy concerns. It is an age of ideas marked by the battle for hearts and minds. The wing goes all-out to partner with major domestic and international universities, think-tanks and research organisations to organise seminars and conferences on subjects that are relevant to Pakistan’s concerns. Promotion of music and food constitute important elements of Pakistan’s soft power. In addition, a series of documentaries on contributions made by the government, NGOs, media and various individuals in their own fields of work or in improving socio-economic conditions go a long way towards promoting the soft image of Pakistan. Digital diplomacy is extremely important for a two-way communication with the public in general; enabling the government to listen and understand the pulse of the nation. Fifty percent of the Pakistani population is youth, and thus the internet serves as an effective and economical tool to engage it. The ministry’s Cyber Wing is almost in pitiable state. The social media initiatives of the Public Diplomacy Division must be galvanised as a catalyst for many of our missions and posts abroad to start their own Facebook pages, blogs and online publication of articles and essays."

Dalrymple conjures up a dangerous triangle - Rajiv Dogra, "The theory that India is a villain in Afghanistan gains ground, as does the implied impression that India must be asked to show accommodation on Kashmir to appease Pakistan and thereby facilitate casualty free withdrawal of the American troops from Afghanistan. ... But the question that must be asked concerns our response. What have we done to put facts in public domain; after all that is what public diplomacy is about."

Monitoring the monitors - Krzysztof Bobinski, "Two countries in the European Union's Eastern Partnership will hold presidential elections this autumn: Azerbaijan on 16 October and Georgia on 27 October. The political sensitivity of those elections has surfaced in several commentaries published by European Voice in recent weeks. Ahead of the visit to Brussels by Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev on 21 June, an important figure in Azerbaijan's civil society ('Silent or public diplomacy in Azerbaijan?', 20-26 June) and Human Rights Watch ('Mismatched objectives',, 19 June) aired concerns about the early stages of the campaign in Azerbaijan."

Pence recommends Marsha Coats for GOP national committee - "Today Governor Mike Pence recommended to the Indiana Republican State Executive Committee that Marsha Coats complete Becky Skillman’s term as Indiana’s Republican National Committeewoman. ... Coats has received a number of awards for her community service, including the U.S. Army Commander’s Award for Public Service for her work with the soldiers and families of the U.S. Army forces serving in Germany. The U.S. State Department honored her with the Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Public Diplomacy."

FAMU alumnus sworn into Foreign Service - Donovan Harrell, "In a class of 40, Florida and M alumnus Calvin Hayes was officially sworn into the 172nd Foreign Service Officer Class on June 28. The class was sworn in by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, director general of the Foreign Service, at a ceremony in Washington at the U.S. Department of State. Hayes will serve as a public diplomacy officer. According to the Department of State, a public diplomacy officer’s duties include explaining foreign policy to foreign audiences, creating and managing cultural and information programs to help engage in different cultures, strengthening relationships abroad through media and coordinating foreign exchange programs. Before serving in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for two years, Hayes

will spend eight months at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Va., learning the local language, Bengali. He expects to work in Africa and eventually Latin America. ... Hayes graduated in 2010 with a double major in political science and public relations. While on campus, he was an active participant in the Student Government Association, NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He credits these organizations for teaching him the value of teamwork and leadership. Hayes also completed two internships and received the $90,000 Rangle Scholarship to become a foreign service officer. He earned his master’s in public diplomacy this year from American University. Before becoming an officer, he worked on Capitol Hill, the State Department Bureau of Legislative Affairs and the U.S. Embassy in South Africa." Image from article, with caption: FAMU alumnus Calvin Hayes was sworn into the Foreign Service in Washington on June 28.

Whatever happened to ... Kai Parham?
- Larry Rubama, The Virginian-Pilot: "Parham earned a master's degree, served as a U.S. State Department intern and now works in Atlanta as a financial planner. ... In August 2010, Parham enrolled in the University of Southern California's master's program in public diplomacy and after graduation was an intern at a private equity firm in Los Angeles." Image from article, with caption: Kai Parham listens to Princess Anne head coach Jeff Ballance on Tuesday, Aug. 21

Only Ten Days Left_Accepting Applications for Fall 2013: Graduate Certificate Program, School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University - "Applications Deadline: July 25, 2013 [:] The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, a leading academic institution in the field of conflict analysis and resolution, offers four 15 credit Graduate Certificates for mid-career professionals that integrate theoretical insights with practical skills for working with conflict. Intensive sessions, seminars and applied and mentored learning in real and simulated situations prepare participants to use conflict analysis and resolution approaches in their work in a variety of settings. ... World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution [:] Examine the contribution to reducing global violence and terrorism made by incorporating the best moral practices of religious communities into policy planning and public diplomacy. Learn strategies for eliciting moderate moral religious expressions in conflict regions to strengthen civil society and democracy. Leaders in diplomacy, religion, and beyond can create political, religious, and social openings that allow international political compromises and vital peace processes to flourish."

A1817455: American Embassy: Cultural Affairs Specialist - The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa is seeking an individual for the position of Cultural Affairs Specialist in the Public Diplomacy Section. BASIC FUNCTION OF POSITION [:] Using highly developed expertise in the educational and cultural fields, serves as the senior Locally Employed Staff (LEStaff) advisor and assistant to the Cultural Affairs Officer (CAO) in planning, scheduling, and administering an all-inclusive and major country-wide cultural and educational program of broad scope and considerable complexity designed to provide better understanding of U.S. policies and achievements among key audiences of the host country through educational, cultural, and professional exchanges programs."

2D Motion Graphic Artist - "Job Description [:]Primescape Solutions is looking for a 2D Motion Graphic Artist to support our work with Department of State in DC. As a designer you will be responsible for creating graphics for Public Diplomacy content to be played on any number of platforms including, broadcast television, internet and mobile phones."

The Nebbishter Glee - "Also known as Space Goblins, the Nebbishter Glee are a waist-high semi-intelligent demonic species that have infested a number of worlds, habitats, and orbitals both inside and beyond the Empire. Reportedly introduced into Imperial space by certain unscrupulous Gene Masters, the Nebbishter Glee are frequently used as estate guardians by the wealthy and unwary. Their DNA is an ever-shifting melange of canine, feline, ape, and utterly otherworldly alien stock. Unfortunately, the Nebbishter have a tendency to... replicate in large numbers if unchecked. ... An Omega House expedition to a ringworld in the Shore Archipelago discovered a much more intelligent and psionically active subspecies of

the Nebbishter Glee. Some of this stock escaped captivity and have begun organizing bands of their semi-intelligent peers in a series of well-coordinated rebellions in disparate sectors of the Empire. In a typical act of Omega House public diplomacy, word has gone out that Omega House 'has the means and the will to contain and extinguish this outbreak.' There are reports in several sectors that Omega House has increased their hiring of mercenary forces, scaling up their military assets toward this end." Image from entry, with caption: The Nebbishter Glee


GI Joe 2: Another instance of propaganda against Pakistan - Hasan Ehtisham, This sequel of the renowned GI Joe has been appropriately banned by the Central Board of Film Censors in Islamabad as it depicts a rather negative illustration of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

The movie shows that jihadis are so empowered that they manage to seize the entire missile site along with active nuclear warheads! Then, there is a scene where the president of Pakistan is assassinated followed by an imposition of martial law. It seems as if the bestselling premise in Hollywood is to represent Muslims as terrorists and now they have gone as far as waging propaganda against Pakistani nukes. Image from entry , with caption: This movie portrays Muslims as terrorists and wages a propaganda against nukes.

Aiding Islamist Propaganda - Rachel Lipsky, At least one of the imams who participated in this grand interfaith gesture at Auschwitz and other imams affiliated with ISNA (Islamic Society of North America)

have a history of inciting anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, and anti-American rhetoric and often deliver that vitriol in messages exclusively to their own Muslim audiences while deceiving everyone else by outwardly appearing to be moderate and preaching religious tolerance and mutual respect. The superficial euphoria at seeing all faiths smiling together in harmony is the ultimate idealists' dream, yet, it belies the reality that too many imams, including members of the ISNA, actively teach hatred of and destruction of all who will not submit to their prophet, Allah, and the Sharia. Image from article

The FBI Caves to Politically Correct Muslim Propaganda - David S. Whitley, Nearly every pro-Muslim spokesperson works the system in the same way. They claim victimhood. They claim injustice by the larger culture. They claim religious intolerance (though in fact the ads in question never mentioned religion.) They skillfully turn the tables, blaming non-Muslim American culture as the potential problem because of what a bigot might do to an innocent Muslim based on the FBI posters. So we put the potential threat of misplaced anger ahead of the actual threat of deadly terrorism. This is Taqiyya, approved Qur'anic teaching that holds that lying by Muslims for the greater glory of Allah is okay.

EDL recycles antisemitic propaganda - Bob Pitt, Those who question the links between the English Defence League and fascism, or indeed the clear parallels between Islamophobia and antisemitism, this is a cartoon recently posted on the EDL London Division’s Facebook page. It is used to illustrate the conspiracy theory that graffiti featuring the letters EDL, which has proliferated on mosques and Islamic centres since the murder of Lee Rigby, is not the work of EDL supporters themselves but of Muslims intent on smearing the EDL. As Exposing the English Defence League points out, the cartoon is in fact a clumsy adaptation of a cartoon popular in neo-Nazi and white supremacist circles, which portrays fascist graffiti on synagogues as part of a Jewish conspiracy to frame the far right.

North Korea's Growing Anti-American Propaganda Art Scene [PHOTOS] - Not all of the country’s art is just centered on the

nation’s leaders; some of it is about depicting their enemies as murderers, namely Americans. Some battlefield propaganda paintings depict gruesome scenes from what North Koreans call the “Fatherland Liberation War,” also more popularly referred to as the Korean War, which took place from 1950 to 1953. Images depict soldiers with the letters “US” affixed to their uniforms pointing a gun at a young girl

crying over dead bodies, in addition to other grisly scenes. Images from entry: top image with caption: A wax figure of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was given to the recluse nation by Chinese artist; below image with caption: Battlefield Propaganda art from the Korean War depicts Americans as barbaric murderers.

Propaganda masters: The truth, as North Korea tells it - Rob Montz, North Korean propaganda is generally seen as bizarre, irrelevant fluff. Earlier this year, for example, a video purportedly released on state TV showing impoverished Americans “eating snow” to survive made the rounds online. That video turned out to be a hoax. But it was gobbled down and passed around uncritically because it fit the prevailing narrative of North Korea as crazy and crumbling. The truth is that there's a clear, conscious design underlying the stories told to the Korean people. Yes, the worldview shaped by those stories is simplistic but it seems to provide serious spiritual nutrients and a strong sense of purpose for many — if not most — of the subjects of the Hermit Kingdom.

China's Flying Propaganda Weapon Will Blow Your Mind - Adam Minter, What’s the latest weapon in the Chinese military’s arsenal of high-tech killing machines? It might be an airplane capable of disseminating propaganda so powerful it induces nervous breakdowns, according to report in Tuesday's Global Times, a state-owned newspaper close to the military. Detailed photos of the plane -- known as the Gaoxin VII -- circulated on the Chinese Internet in advance of the article, probably leaked by military sources eager to publicize the new aircraft. In the article, the Global Times neither confirms nor denies the plane’s existence.

It does reprint the photos and provide a thorough inventory of the aircraft's (theoretically) formidable capabilities: “When carrying out a mission, the airplane will use its own ‘programs’ to forcefully overpower enemy television stations, radio stations and wireless communication networks, interfere with the enemy's propaganda dissemination programs, affect the enemy's military-civilian morale, and create rumors and confusion, thus causing the enemy, from government to everyday citizens, to have ‘nervous breakdowns’ and achieving their goal of rendering them helpless and unable to fight.” In other words: One moment you’re sitting at home watching CNN, and the next you’re a basket case because your television is locked on a steady stream of Chinese Communist Party propaganda. Image from article, with caption: Don't look too hard, you might have a nervous breakdown.

What does this Chinese poster mean? Propaganda falls flat, withdrawn - Chris Luo, Embarrassed judicial officials in an Inner Mongolia city have taken down a confusing propaganda poster after it was widely ridiculed by internet users, according to whom the poster seemed to hint that inmates in the city's prisons would very likely suffer sexual abuses.

The deputy propaganda chief in the city of Manzhouli on Saturday confirmed that the city’s government had withdrawn a public awareness campaign poster uring locals not to break laws. The poster starts out: “Manzhouli People's Court reminds city residents to abide by laws, or…” Under those words, two flowers appear side by side: a blooming chrysanthemum with the caption “before prison” and a wilted sunflower labelled “after prison”. In the corner, the emblem of Manzhouli People’s Court is seen. Image from article, with caption: "Manzhouli court warns township residents to abide by laws, or… before prison and after prison," the billboard reads.

‘It Should Not Be Propaganda’: Ethnic Minority TV Channel to Launch This Year - Simon Roughneen, A new TV channel with shows in ethnic minority languages will air on Burma’s state broadcaster later this year, in a move that is being welcomed by minority representatives. Details of the proposed channel are still being finalized, says a spokesperson from Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV), but broadcasts will likely feature news and cultural content in several of Burma’s more widely used minority mother tongues, such as Shan, Karen and Kachin.

The new medium comes on the back of 13 ceasefires signed by the Burma government and various ethnic minority militias, and is a signal, according to some minority activists, that Burma’s government is not only trying to achieve peace in resource-rich borderlands, but is also making belated cultural overtures to ethnic minorities in the country. “It is very well timed but it should be independent, and it should not be government propaganda,” says Susanna Hla Hla Soe, executive director of the Karen Women’s Empowerment Group, an NGO focused on rights for women in Karen State. Image from article, with caption: A class is under way at school run by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Mai Ja Yang, on the Burma-China border, in February last year

EU spin and propaganda achieves less than zero - Dean Carroll, Given that that some media outlets are biased despite their claims of impartiality, would it really be so bad for the EU to extend its own propaganda machine; in order to counter the disproportionate kicking it gets in the Eurosceptic – usually right-wing - press? The answer has to be a resounding 'yes'.

Not only would it dent freedom of the press, such a venture would surely breach the EU's own antitrust laws. The union would have a monopoly on interviews with its star players like the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council. Image from entry

Julian Assange calls upcoming Dreamworks film 'a mass propaganda attack against WikiLeaks' - Bryan Bishop, Earlier this week we got our first look at actor Benedict Cumberbatch playing Julian Assange in the forthcoming WikiLeaks film The Fifth Estate — but Assange himself has some particularly harsh words for the production. In a speech before the Oxford Union, Assange revealed that a draft of the script for the Dreamworks project had in fact been shared with WikiLeaks, and he called it "a mass propaganda attack against WikiLeaks the organization, and the character of my staff and our activities, and so on." Uncaptioned Assage image from article

"World war Z" - a Propaganda Breather? - "I found the propaganda minimal. The action is moving too fast, the scene too chaotic, for heavy handed political preaching. Overall, the Israelis are presented not as more intelligent than the other countries, they're just quicker to take drastic action before anybody else. Not fast enough in this movie, though. Despite their early response, Jerusalem is overrun with the zombie horde. But I saw no attempt at all at a metaphor for Arab zombies. The zombies are too numerous and move too fast to make any impression of their politics or ethnicity. They're just your generic mob."

Propaganda from the skies - Bernard Wilkin, European studies blog: "For the last two years, I have been working on a PhD about propaganda history at the University of Sheffield in collaboration with the British Library. The Library's current exhibition Propaganda: Power and Persuasion has spectacularly advertised the importance of the subject and its impact on our modern society.

My own research topic of ‘Allied propaganda in occupied France and Belgium during the First World War’, was triggered in this same institution by the discovery of a typescript and a collection of newspapers given to the British Museum Library in 1919 by Edward Heron-Allen (1861-1943).  - See more at: In." Image from article, with caption: The masthead of Le Courrier de l'Air (British Library C.40.l.21.)

Letter: Founders' quotes are propaganda - James V. Guiducci, Condemnation to Hobby Lobby for being duped into becoming a transmitter for Wallbuilders’ propaganda. The man behind Wallbuilders is David Barton, an admitted liar who cherry-picks, edits and even makes up quotes by any one of over 250 people he designates as “Founders.” Appealing to “biblical principles” is gutter politics. The Bible can literally be used to support any policy. American slavery was defended as “biblical.” Read anthologies like “Cotton is King.” Southern partisans threw verses like Leviticus 25:44-46 in the abolitionists’ faces; even William Ellery Channing himself had to duck them.

Or how about Leviticus 20:9, which commands killing children for cursing their parents. Talk about family values! The Joseph story quote was amusing. Under common law, the penalty for heresy is burning. The only “Christianity” in common law was partisan religious establishments protecting their own power monopolies. The problem with writers such as Bea Mackey (“America deserting morals, principles of the Founders,” letter, July 14) is they get incensed when they get caught playing the cherry-picking game. Their commitment to “biblical principles” is selective. Read Chris Rodda’s “Liars for Jesus” for a good overview of how Barton and his dupes take primary sources out of context — and kudos to Thomas Nelson Publishing for dropping the fraud’s “The Jefferson Lies” title last year. Image from entry, with caption: A Hobby Lobby store in Denver.

INTERNETNA (in the tradition of this post's AMERICANA)

--From Princess Sparkle Pony's Photoblog,"My Most "Successful" Image Meme Goes Horribly Awry."

No comments: