Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20 Public Diplomacy Review

--Martin Luther King images from


"I Have A Dream" (August 28, 1963) - David Pescovitz, "Tell them about the dream, Martin!" [on Martin Luther Day in Washington, January 20, 2014, see]

Edward Snowden 2014 Calendar - Dan W,

Israel Advocacy Group 'Spells it Out' for Kerry: Americans For a Safe Israel 'reminds' US Secretary of State of the security threat posed by an Israeli withdrawal from Judea-Samaria - "[A]recent presentation by [Michael] Langfan illustrating the strategic importance of the Judea-Samaria region


It’s All in the Smithsonian Details - Editor’s note: In a new (Jan-Feb 2014) Foreign Service Journal article, Bea Camp tells about the value of her detail to the Smithsonian Institution, expanding on her talk at the 3 December 2014 PDAA lunch program. Below is an excerpt and link to the entire article. Today, thanks to the establishment of a State Department detail position at the Smithsonian in 2009, State bureaus and posts are able to take greater advantage of its international presence to reach foreign audiences. Whether pursuing conservation in Burma, building a Spark!Lab in Kyiv or bringing Hungarian musicians to the Folklife Festival, the Smithsonian’s international engagement complements the State Department’s work in education, culture, the environment and scientific cooperation. I was fascinated to find that the position I held for two years has historical roots. Marc Pachter, who later became director of the National Portrait Gallery, served as the Smithsonian liaison to the U.S. Information Agency in the 1980s. And in 2002, the Bureau of International Information Programs detailed Martin Manning to the National Portrait Gallery to work with Smithsonian Institution staff on the American Rooms Project, envisioned by then-Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Charlotte Beers as an interactive exhibit highlighting American themes. In my case, the detail provided lots of leeway, so I focused on helping State colleagues take advantage of Smithsonian resources for the benefit of overseas audiences. This mission set me on a path of discovery that ranged from jazz to mobile apps to wildlife conservation. From the Smithsonian side, I was regularly consulted on international issues, with my China experience proving especially welcome. The goals of the two institutions are often symbiotic.

As the world’s largest museum and research complex, the Smithsonian Institution is focusing on greater engagement with world audiences.  The full text is found on the Foreign Service Journal Web site.particularly non-elite and youth groups, while the Department of State is eager to use the Smithsonian’s expertise to enhance the dissemination of information about the United States to overseas audiences. Camp image from entry

Jimmy Beam, Time Warner and Global Trade …. Good News? - "The first two weeks of January 2014 have seen very interesting developments in global trade relations — the filing of new WTO litigation by Russia, successfully concluding the Bali negotiations, restricting U.S. litigation against multinationals, sparring in Congress over President Obama’s trade policies, trade and income inequality, and renewed foreign investment into the corporate and real estate sectors in the U.S. The latter is particularly interesting in terms of promoting economic development and jobs in the U.S. However, this development also raises broader issues concerning foreign investment into the U.S. and the selling of U.S. assets to foreign corporations and foreign sovereign wealth funds – especially from the public’s standpoint. Public policy and public reactions are still unfolding. I suspect better public diplomacy would be beneficial."

The Internationalisation of European Culture - The news of Europeana's virtual reality museum prompted today's guest bloggers to think about how culture can be used to sculpt the European narrative, particularly about how the EU can use culture in its communications with the rest of the world. Last month, Europeana launched the idea of an online virtual museum, cleverly called 'EUseum', which makes the European Museum one step closer to reality. The potential is for EUseum to promote cultural exchange and transnational exhibitions, which might, ultimately, succeed in enhancing cultural integration within the borders of the EU. The instant sharing of cultural heritage and online access to the comprehensive cultural collection which Europe has developed over ‘la longue durée’ is inevitable.

But there might be even more to it. There is on-going reflection about the need for a new narrative for Europe. We believe that these discussions and initiatives like the Preparatory Action ‘Culture in EU external relations’ point in the same direction as Europeana: by culturally re-arming Europe, our united powers can create (re)actions within the EU and a stronger sense of being European, in whatever sense that might be appropriate for each individual. But we also believe thast the potential might expand to even wider success – outside the EU. ... The paradigm shift followed by the launch of the new narrative for Europe and related initiatives has a clear importance for public diplomacy, intercultural dialogue and the empowerment of citizens in articulating the European story and identity in the year 2014. There is a clear bottom-up strategy, in which the narrative of the EU is given voice by Europeans’ own tongues – not just that of Brussels." Image from entry, with caption: The EUseum virtual reality demonstration

Turkey’s test of wills - Abukar Arman, "In recent months Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have been at the center of controversy and the subject of passionate debate. Also involved is the spiritual leader of the Hizmet, or Gulen, Movement, Fethullah Gulen. However, as with all matters political, things are seldom the way they seem. Although it is packaged as an all too familiar case of power politics of the kind that often pits allies of convenience against each other, beneath that façade is a relentless effort to restrict the Islamists’ capacity to govern.

As in Egypt, at the heart of the issue is the question of whether or not so-called political Islam can exist within a constitutional framework, embrace modernity and share space with a pluralist society. ... Meanwhile, Gulen and his movement, which has been serving as an invaluable goodwill ambassador and the de facto positive image-builders of Turkey through public diplomacy, education and interfaith dialogue, have found Erdogan’s style discomforting. Uncaptioned image from article; see also Mustafa Akyol, "Beware of self-destructive Turkish propaganda,"

Iran Likely to Spend Oil Funds on Aircraft, Car Parts -- Deputy Oil ... Zawya (registration,  link does not lead to full text) : From Google entry: "Iran has to maximize its public-diplomacy efforts now because 'the window could always close' amid the threat of a political backlash, in either Tehran or ... "

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom? - "The Trap is a series of three films by Bafta-winning producer Adam Curtis that explains the origins of our contemporary, narrow idea of freedom. It shows how a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures led to today's idea of freedom. This model was derived from ideas and techniques developed by nuclear strategists during the Cold War to control the behavior of the Soviet enemy. ... [comment by:] perfectlyGoodInk • 2 years ago − ... The film is poorly researched, downright misleading, poorly argued, and it hypocritically stoops to the very propagandistic techniques that it maligned in 'Yes, Minister' and the Office of Public Diplomacy."


Obama NSA Speech: Pretty Words, No Real Change - Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: Obama announced that the U.S. will no longer electronically surveil allied, friendly, heads of state. So, Americans, the only documented way to protect yourself from NSA spying is to be chosen as leader of another country. Note that Obama did not specify what he means by allied and friendly (Turkey? Iraq? Brazil?), and he clearly did not outlaw spying on a head of state’s closest advisors, cabinet members, secretaries, code clerks and the like.

This is simply a gesture; it is unlikely that any of German head of state Andrea Merkel’s cell phone conversations revealed much terrorist information anyway. Worldwide reaction, the audience to which this was aimed, has been tepid and unconvinced. Image from, with statement: Yet another of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA is the official seal, pictured to the left. The logo is quite real, and the motto– Nothing is Beyond Our Reach– clearly sums up the NSA’s view of its mission

Editor of Castro propaganda organ Granma defects to the U.S. - The erstwhile foreign editor for Cuban Communist Party daily Granma defected to the United States and is now in Miami. Aida Calviac Mora, 29, appeared Thursday night on Miami-based America TeVe television. In an interview with “El Espejo” host Juan Manuel Cao, she blasted Cuban official media and vented her frustration at never being allowed to come up with her own news coverage on “different, critical subjects.” Recent photos on her Facebook profile

show Calviac in Mexico, where she went for professional reasons, Web site Cafe Fuerte said. The Cuban journalist apparently arrived in Miami in late November after entering the United States from Mexico, the Web site said. Calviac said that media directors on the island undermine all attempts to practice independent journalism with the argument that “it’s not a good idea, because the enemy can use it against you.” This “fortress mentality” blocks any professional reporting, which always runs into a wall of official secrecy and self-censorship, she said. Calviac said that Granma has the same arbitrary nature and failures the whole country suffers: verticalism and ordering you around.” Uncaptioned image from entry

America chooses the wrong allies in Egypt - Jackson Diehl, Washington Post: Who are the allies of the United States in Egypt? The Obama administration’s judgment is crystal clear: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has plied Sissi with more than two dozen phone calls since he led a coup against the elected Islamist government of Mohamed Morsi in rapuly, while Kerry has repeatedly endorsed the general’s increasingly implausible claim to be building a democracy — as opposed to restoring the pre-2011 dictatorship in a more repressive form. Sissi and his cohort, however, are anything but pro-American. The media they control have been orchestrating an orgy of vile propaganda, charging the United States with everything from seeking to carve Egypt into pieces to subverting its morals. That Egypt is reverting to authoritarianism shows only that the old order and the Islamists were better organized to seize power after the revolution. Shouldn’t the United States aim to correct that?

The ‘How Are You?’ Culture Clash - Alina Simone, New York Times: In Soviet days, proclamations of joy, enthusiasm and optimism were associated with state propaganda and officialese.

As a citizen of a Communist utopia, you were pretty much supposed to feel fine all the time (never mind the time you spent squabbling over the communal stove or waiting in a two-hour line to buy toilet paper). So, a moan or a complaint would be considered a more authentic, non-state-sanctioned response to “how are you” than "fine." Image from entry, with caption: Gail Anderson and Joe Newton; Image by A. Sverdlova

‘Propaganda’: Israel blasts UN year of Palestinian solidarity - Israel’s envoy to the UN has slammed its “Year of Solidarity with the Palestinians” as “propaganda.” The UN announced 2014 as the year dedicated to identifying obstacles to the peace process and promoting solidarity with the Palestinians.

The resolution to designate 2014 as the year of Palestinian Solidarity was adopted by the UN General Assembly on Nov. 26, with 110 votes in favor, 7 against and 56 abstentions. The US, Australia, Canada, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau voted against the initiative. Image from article, with caption: Israeli soldiers detain a Palestinian youth during clashes in the West Bank village of Silwad, north of Ramallah, on January 17, 2014 following a protest of Palestinians against the expansion of the nearby Israeli settlement of Ofra

Beware of Fake Syria Propaganda – Another Campaign Exposed! - "Recently there has been a photograph circulating around the internet that allegedly depicts a young boy laying next to his parent’s graves in Syria. The photograph has made its rounds so many different captions have been attached to the image, here is one of the most popular ones.

I first saw it earlier in the week and right away I thought that something about it just felt odd, then I came across an article published by “The Independent”. So it turns out my suspicions were true. The article confirms that this photograph is a hoax and that the alleged orphan is not even an orphan, and that the picture was actually taken in Saudi Arabia. The alleged graves are actually piles of dirt and rocks and the boy’s uncle was the photographer. Other pictures were taken as well, here is a side by side of the original one that has been used in this blatant propaganda campaign.


Photos: Propaganda airlift to North Korea -

Two of seven images, top with caption: Activists including defectors from North Korea prepare to release balloons carrying anti-North Korea leaflets from the border town of Paju, near the DMZ between the two countries, on Wednesday; bottom with caption: The activists release the balloons. The leaflets denounce the North Korean government for human rights violations.

Positive Propaganda [contains video] - Varg Vikernes - "There is 'negative propaganda', e. g. talking badly about what the enemies stand for and do, and there is 'positive propaganda', e, g, talking warmly about what is your own. I try to spread only positive propaganda, using whatever means I have available, to ensure the survival of Europe in this time of chaos and nihilism. This time I combine the use of Burzum, my book 'Sorcery and Religion in Ancient Scandinavia', this blog and YouTube. Enjoy!"

11,000 declassified cables from Berlin Wall tell dramatic tales of escape: CBS tried to film an escape, nearly triggered a trap - Nathan Fenno, The Washington Times: More than 11,000 pages of declassified documents -- released by the CIA and the National Declassification Center last week -- are a trove from 19 U.S. government agencies that

explores life in divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989, spanning the Western allies' contingency plan code-named Live Oak preparing for a crisis in the city to the everyday drama over the next three decades where the smallest detail could trigger unexpected consequences. Image from entry, with caption: West Berlin police patrol the wall, the site of frequent confrontations that threatened to erupt into major incidences. Soviet communists added a wooden fence to impede a clear view into the East Berlin zone.

Diary: Our secret history -- Foreign Office clams up over propaganda unit: The Northern Ireland file that might cause an international incidentent - Hugh Muir, The Guardian: Having been caught unlawfully concealing 1.2m "public" documents from the public for decades, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is now reluctant to let the public know whether it will ever be permitted to see them. Not that anyone should be unduly worried: at a clear-the-air conference FCO mandarins held last year, concerned historians were assured that media reporting of this matter was "not always the most accurate", and that the department had been guilty only of "accepting odd collections of material" into its archives.

Nothing of any great significance. But obviously there are titbits worth knowing. For the first time a Guardian colleague submits a freedom of information request, asking for just one 42-year-old file from the FCO's hidden archive – albeit one that concerns the activities during Northern Ireland's Troubles of the now notorious black propaganda unit, the Information Research Department. But he was told it may not be released, as to do so could damage the UK's international relations. The need-to-know culture runs deep. Image from entry, with caption: Is anybody listening? The Foreign Office in Whitehall, London.


"We cannot walk alone."

--Martin Luther King, Jr. (1963); MLK image from


--MLK Washington memorial image from; according to, "The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was designed and sculpted by a Chinese artist using Chinese materials and designed in China. ... One of Yixin’s most notable works on his resume include a sculpture of Chinese dictator Mao Zedong."

ONE MORE IMAGE (Paul Klee’s Twittering Machine [1922] )

From: (the ghost of) Paul Klee on Twitter

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