Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 8 Public Diplomacy Review

Abbreviated Edition

"[D]oes this mean that the Department of State (DoS) has expanded its influence role beyond public diplomacy?"

--Lawrence Dietz, referring to USAID’s Twitter for Cuba in his blog, PSYOP Regimental Blog: Authoritative source of information on Psychological Operations (PSYOP) or as it is now called Military Information Support Operations (MISO). Written by a retired senior Army Officer and former Honorary Colonel of the PSYOP Regiment; the blog asks, "If you were a cannibal, what would you wear to dinner? you don't"; image from


#Happy #Yerevan - US Public Diplomacy in Armenia - Yelena Osipova, Global Chaos: Here's a video the US Embassy in Armenia posted on its YouTube page just a few hours ago, produced in collaboration with the US Alumni Association of Armenia ... It is, of course, yet another addition to the whole series of 'Happy [fill in the blank]' videos, based on Pharrell Williams' hit. It's an earworm, I admit. Yet, what makes this one special is that it was made by the US Embassy in Yerevan, featuring (presumably) the alumni of various US programs and Ambassador John Heffern himself. Most of it was shot at the US Embassy, the American University in Armenia, the Cascade (Cafesjian Museum), and a few other notable sights around Yerevan. It's great to see so many bright, funky, and happy people in Yerevan... especially these days. The video's currently going viral on my Facebook homepage (and, four hours later, has gathered close to 28,000 views!). Well done on happy public diplomacy! :-)"


“Talking with the Enemy” Focus of 2014 Santa Fe Symposium - pdaa.publicdiplomacy.org: "This year’s Santa Fe World Affairs Forum Symposium explores “Talking with the Enemy: Cultivating Friends, Diplomacy Revisited,” April 28 and 29 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The event is co-sponsored by American Foreign Service Association and St. John’s College, and supported by a number of partner organizations, including Public Diplomacy Alumni Association. The program begins at 1:45 pm on Monday, April 28 and features Thomas E McNamara, former U.S. Ambassador to Colombia and Ambassador at Large for Counter-Terrorism discussing U.S. foreign security strategy after the 9/11 wars. Later in the day Gregory Hicks, former Deputy Chief of Mission in Tripoli, Libya gives his personal perspectives on on U.S. diplomacy in a multi-polar world.

On Tuesday, April 29, former foreign service officer Donald M. Bishop will give his views on engaging people through public diplomacy. James P. Farwell, author of Persuasion and Power: the Art of Strategic Communication (Georgetown University Press, 2012) and senior research fellow in strategic studies at the University of Toronto follows with a presentation on how rhetoric influences reality." Image from entry


A Return to Public Diplomacy in the Middle East - internationalpoliticalforum.com:  "Syria’s ongoing deadly civil warIran’s nuclear weapons program, and a renewed focus to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are the three main diplomatic maneuvers currently at the forefront of U.S. foreign policy in the region, and they present quite a challenge. Our recent performance record includes the 2012 attack on the embassy in Benghazi that saw a U.S. ambassador killed, involvement in the unsuccessful Geneva II negotiations, and a history of supporting repressive authoritarian regimes in the region. At a time when the resolution of Syria’s chemical weapons program has arguably weakened the White House’s image, public diplomacy is even more essential to prevent further erosion of the credibility and effectiveness of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Public opinion of the United States in the Middle East today is characterized by distrust, disapproval of American ideology and culture, and general animosity. The influence of this negative opinion is extensive; it impacts the United States’ ability to advance its foreign policy interests, the effect of its military efforts, the market for American goods and services, and increases support for anti-American and terrorist groups. Consequently, effective public diplomacy is instrumental in furthering American interests in this vital part of the world. ... In the modern international system, public diplomacy is the multidisciplinary practice of explaining American foreign policy decisions, institutions, and cultural norms and values to the Arab public, not through their governments, but instead through direct contact. In essence, its mission is to 'understand, engage, inform, and influence foreign publics and elites in support of policy objectives.' It is important to note that public diplomacy is distinct from propaganda; it emphasizes dialogue and mutuality while complementing traditional diplomacy. An expression of soft power, public diplomacy capitalizes on attraction and persuasion and can pressure governments and leaders in ways formal, more traditional diplomacy cannot.

The U.S. Department of State’s Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is the current division in charge of public diplomacy, and it works closely with the Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications and bureaus of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs. Additionally, each embassy has a public affairs officer and team to run and supervise public diplomacy programs. ... In a 2012 study published by the Middle East Journal on the U.S. Digital Outreach Team, an earlier dialogue-based State Department public diplomacy initiative, their case study found that this approach can be improved by strengthening the amount of dialogue, response speed, and implementing specific communication strategies tailored to each country. A positive presence in media and mass communication has the potential to facilitate inter-cultural understanding and combat misinformation and prejudice with knowledge, but current programs need to be expanded upon and reformed. Finally, the facilitation of cross-cultural experiences such as the Fulbright Scholarships and International Visitors program are powerful advocates for foreign opinion of the U.S. The Department of State should work to strategize ways to share information and expertise on public diplomacy with Congress, and ensure congressional support for participants in exchange programs to the U.S. They should also encourage the participation of non-English speaking Arabs in these exchange programs in an effort to reach people who have been exposed to less information on America."
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Cuban Twitter Wasn't Aid and it Wasn't Public Diplomacy Either - Joe Johnson, Public Diplomacy Council: The U.S. Agency for International Development has confirmed that it set up a text messaging service in Cuba under false pretenses. The Associated Press broke the story earlier this week.  USAID used 'shell companies' to create a cellphone text messaging service that would deliver infotainment to attract an audience of young Cubans, and at a later stage, use the network to promote political activism. The project attracted 40 thousand subscribers before USAID abandoned it in 2012, according to news accounts. Clever public diplomacy? No.

For two reasons.  --The Agency went to exceptional lengths to hide its sponsorship of the project.  Not even the company executives were told the source of their money, according to AP.  That runs against longstanding professional standards of public diplomacy, which should walk the talk of open, honest and correctly attributed communication. -- The Agency played into Castro's narrative: the United States, up to its old dirty tricks. And it probably damaged any hope of the regime releasing Alan Gross, a USAID contractor imprisoned in Cuba in 2010 for ... promoting internet access on the island. This escapade, which has been treated as a humorous gaffe in the media, should be taken seriously by actual public diplomacy practitioners. Over the past twenty years, the lines between aid projects and public diplomacy have blurred. I have sometimes heard PD staffers caste their work as 'aid lite' social development. And aid officials undertake public communication and educational exchange projects that look just like PD programs. Image from

The emerging dark side of social networks - Dominic Basulto, Washington Post: "We’ve all heard how social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube help to spread democracy around the world by mobilizing the masses and making it easier to topple dictators. Now, we’re now seeing a darker side to them. ... This emerging dark side of social networks has enormous implications for how America conducts its diplomatic business abroad. Ever since Hillary Clinton launched '21st century statecraft' for the U.S. State Department, there’s been a push to use Internet freedom as a rallying cry for the United States to win over friends and gain influence across the globe. Terms like 'digital statecraft' and 'e-diplomacy' are commonplace these days – not just for America, but also for nations that would like to emulate America’s ability to project power around the world. At little or no cost, social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube made it possible to spread the message that America was the land of baseball, apple pie and democracy for all. But you can see where all this headed.

The more that social networks are seen to be doing the bidding of the NSA and the CIA (and proxy organizations such as USAID) in terms of gathering and mobilizing the masses against governments, the less effective they are in sharing American values abroad. If the American way of life includes getting spied on by your government and having your online privacy and personal data compromised for political gain, is that something you can use to win over hearts and minds in foreign lands?" Image from entry, with caption: “Cuban Twitter” was a troubling communications network designed to undermine the government in Cuba. It was built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks. See also.

When diplomacy befriends technology [video] - "On this week’s episode of 'Conversations with Nicholas Kralev,' Alec Ross, former senior adviser for innovation at the State Department, talks about the role of modern technology in achieving diplomatic objectives, empowering citizens around the world, and reconciling Internet freedom with U.S. government surveillance. Ross recounts both success stories during his tenure at Foggy Bottom, such as using mobile technology to ensure a “clean” independence referendum in South Sudan in 2011, and efforts that failed, including a program to pay electronically the salaries of soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Before joining Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s team in 2009, Ross worked on the 2008 Obama presidential campaign. In 2000, he co-founded One Economy, a nonprofit that uses technology to improve the lives of underserved people in developing countries."

Religious Freedom In House Budget - blog.heritage.org: "Sarah Torre at Heritage: ‘The United States should promote freedom of religion or belief around the world, given the importance of religious freedom to human rights, economic development, stability, and democracy,’ notes the Ryan budget, specifically recommending continued funding of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which has played an important role in monitoring religious persecution around the world and helping guide U.S. public diplomacy to promote religious liberty as a fundamental human right.'”

Department of State Public Schedule, April 7 - rockycoastnews.blogspot.com: "UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS RICHARD STENGEL [:] 10:30 a.m. Under Secretary Stengel meets with Coursera Co-Founder Daphne Koller, at the Department of State."

Kabul’s The Place For Ace, Cherry Berry Franchises - globaltrademag.com: "Afghanistan probably doesn’t rank very high on the target list of most companies’ looking to expand their franchise footprint overseas. But that view is undergoing a distinct shift as a growing number of US firms, particularly in the fast-food sector, are looking beyond the headlines at the country’s market potential. ... Among those attending the over-subscribed event was Robert Fardi, president and co-founder of Unison, a brand innovation firm, based in Washington, DC, with expertise in developing brands and digital platforms for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

'We are very bullish on the opportunities for food franchising opportunities by US brands in Afghanistan,' said Fardi. 'With 60 percent of the population under twenty years of age,' he said, 'US fast-food brands in particular represent both employment and professional training benefits and serve as a public diplomacy tool to stay engaged with our friends in Afghanistan as military involvement winds down in 2014.' On hand was Oklahoma-headquartered Cherry Berry, which opened a yogurt bar in the Afghan capital of Kabul last June. The self-serve franchise has proved to be very popular with younger Afghanis and now reportedly serves an average of 600 customers on any given Thursday, the start of the Afghan weekend." Image from entry, with caption: Looking beyond the headlines, a growing number of US companies are reappraising the market vialibity of Afghanistan as a site for franchise expansion.

35 Years of U.S.-China Relations: Diplomacy, Culture and Soft Power [Video] - uscnpm.org: "On Friday, March 28th, the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution and the China Institute for International Studies (CIIS) marked the 35th anniversary of U.S.-China relations with a public event bringing together foreign policy scholars, government officials and public figures to discuss the state of U.S.-China relations with attention to diplomatic and cultural ties and public diplomacy and soft power. The video below features Cheng Li, Senior Fellow and Research Director at Brookings Institution, and Evan S. Medeiros, Asian Affairs Senior Director at the National Security Council."

To No One’s Surprise - Burt Likko, ordinary-gentlemen.com: "[Comment:] Creon Critic [:] Essentially selling ambassadorships and self-financing ambassadors strike me as extremely unmeritocratic and anti-meritocratic. ... I ... disagree that ambassador-level work can just be delegated to other staff. The think tank speeches, active media engagement, and unsexy (no canapes) public diplomacy stuff really can use a competent diplomat."

Protests from Helsinki Committee, bad publicity continue for RFE/RL over treatment of foreign journalist staff - BBG Watcher, bbgwatch: "During the Cold War, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty made every effort to publicize human rights appeals from Helsinki Committees in Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union, while communist governments made every effort to ignore them. A number of former Soviet block countries still have Helsinki Committees speaking out for human rights. For the last few years, the Helsinki Committee in the Czech Republic has been sending letters to the management of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in Washington protesting against alleged discriminatory treatment of foreign journalists employed by RFE/RL in Prague. As in the Soviet times, the Czech Helsinki Committee has not received any answer from either RFE/RL or BBG. ... [Letter:] Mr. Bohuslav Sobotka Prime Minister of the Czech Republic ... Radio Free Europe Violates Human Rights and Hospitality of the Czech Republic Prague, 28th March 2014 Dear Prime Minister, ... As you know, in 1995, at the invitation of Vaclav Havel, RFE/RL that operates on the basis of U.S. International Broadcasting Act was transferred from Munich to Prague and settled in the building of former Federal assembly of Czechoslovakia. The Radio is subordinate to Federal Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) in Washington. Members of BBG are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by Senate. The Secretary of State (presently John Kerry) serves on BBG ex officio. Simultaneously, BBG, including the Secretary of State, acts as RFE/RL Board of Directors. RFE/RL broadcasts in 28 languages to 21 so called target countries and employs in Prague hundreds of foreign citizens. According to International Broadcasting Act, BBG controls and directs all American non-military broadcasters abroad and “makes all major policy determinations governing the operations of RFE/RL.” RFE/RL, the largest institution of American public diplomacy overseas, is financed by U.S. Congress. On January 26, 2010, Norman Eisen, then newly assigned American ambassador to Prague, visited RFE/RL president even before he handed his diplomatic credentials to the President of Czech Republic. Czech Republic extended to RFE/RL an extraordinary hospitality corresponding to the glorious human-rights-oriented history and present official mission of that Radio: 'to promote democratic values and institutions,' 'strengthen civil societies by projecting democratic values,' 'provide a model for local media…' ... [W]e ask the new, headed by you government of the Czech Republic to address the government of the United States of America with request to solve the problems stemming from immoral double-standard policies of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Discrimination of hundreds of its foreign employees shall be stopped, protracted lawsuits ended by peaceful resolutions."

Propaganda, Theirs and Ours - Justin Mitchell, capitolcorrespondent.com: "RFE/RL has long ceased to be funded by the CIA, and it and Voice of America now present themselves as legit journalism.

But the 9/11 attacks, the War on Terror, and Donald Rumsfeld’s years in the Pentagon saw a resurgence in 'information operations.' ... In its use of state media institutions, Russia is doing the same thing the United States has done on countless occasions in the past—use the resources it has to push its own interests. For members of the American media to try and present this behavior as anything unique, new, or even unusual shows a dishonest, sanctimonious disregard for the truth. You could almost call it propaganda." Image from entry

Jacob N. Shapiro - The Terrorist's Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations - gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com: "This book by Professor Jacob N. Shapiro (Yale) sounds like an interesting, insightful, and useful book on terrorism's dilemma: how to run a terrorist organization's bureaucracy while simultaneously maintaining secrecy. I don't know if I'll have time to read it, but I found a useful interview in theGeorgetown Journal of International Affairs.

Here, for example, he speaks on how to exploit the weaknesses in terrorist operations: ... [Shapiro:] 'We know that people in many countries get angry at the consequences militant groups cause for civilians, and it lowers support for them. We know that in most cases, these guys are tremendously vulnerable to information shared by noncombatants, by civilian and by nonparticipants who happen to notice something going on. And that suggests that there is a lever that can be used by policymakers, which is really aggressively getting the word out about just how bad the activities of many of these groups are. And it happens to some extent, but not as much as I think would be valuable. If the Voice of America says it, in many populations, it doesn't have the credibility of a local press outlet saying it. But there are lots of ways you can subsidize NGOs and other organizations that make it easier for local press outlets in lots of countries to report on what groups are doing. I think a lot of our public diplomacy is very centrally focused and coordinated on getting out the message of the U.S. government, as opposed to making it easier for the people to get basic facts about what the groups that we find problematic are doing.' (Interview by Ian Philbrick and Henry Shepherd, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, October 10, 2013, Washington, D.C.)" Image from entry

NATO's Pivot to Russia: Cold War 2.0 at Sea? - seidlers-sicherheitspolitik.net: "After Crimea and with Putin's hands on Eastern Ukraine and Moldova, NATO's debates about partners across the globe and global alliance are finally dead. In response to Putin, NATO-building begins at home.

We need NATO's Public Diplomacy Division, fully focused on the Alliance's core business, reaching out to the member states' ordinary taxpayers. The changing European security environment requires an emphasis on the big messages: Defense, deterrence and security." Image from entry, with caption: Ohio-Class SSBN, US Navy

NATO’s Security Challenges Summer School, Czech Republic - oley.az: "The main objective of 10th annual Summer School, organised by the Prague Security Studies Institute in cooperation with NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division, is to offer a high-profile study course for students currently enrolled in Master’s degree programs, based on presentations, interactive workshops and simulations with international security experts from academia and government fields. Summer School speakers will be announced on PSSI’s website as they are secured. Since 2005, NATO’s Public Diplomacy Division has joined forces with PSSI to offer a select, but intensive, course of study for an elite group of graduate students in political science, international relations and other relevant fields from NATO’s member states and partner countries concerning future challenges for NATO and pressing issues on the global security agenda.

This one-week course, held in English, includes lectures, presentations, group discussions and simulations led by Czech and foreign security experts – both senior policy practitioners and scholars. The retreat-type setting in Měřín, Czech Republic provides a unique networking opportunity for approximately 25 participants from as many as 15 countries." Uncaptioned image from entry

Tbilisi hosts annual NATO Week - Ana Robakidze, messenger.com.ge: "NATO Week was launched in Tbilisi, on April 7th. The main goal of the event is to raise awareness of NATO’s integration policy. The international conference 'Way to NATO: Share of Experience of Central and Eastern European Countries' was opened by the State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Alexi Petriashvili, and the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. ... According to Grabar-Kitarovic Georgia is a highly

valued partner to NATO and the country will definitely receive the membership as soon as it meets all the necessary standards the alliance has set. Speaking at the joint press conference held after her meeting with Petriashvili, Grabar-Kitarovic said granting NATO membership should depend only on the state’s achievements and the decision should not be connected with the situation in other aspirant countries." Uncaptioned image from entry

NATO’s Partnerships Before and After the Chicago Summit - Marônková Barbora, cenaa.org: "The Chicago Summit of NATO once again confirmed that global security challenges require global collective responses. The Chicago Summit also tested a new partnership policy adopted by Foreign Ministers in Berlin in April 2011 following months of profound discussions amongst the Allies on the role of partners that started before the adoption of the new strategic concept and was concluded at the Lisbon Summit. ... The added value of NATO’s new partnership policy, as demonstrated in Chicago, is that it can set a new course of action, if need be, and the partnerships become more pragmatic.

In addition, the new policy has also the potential to facilitate dialogue and practical cooperation with a broad and diverse set of partners, including those like China or India. Even if these countries have so far limited contacts with NATO (outside few senior official visits and couple of public diplomacy activities such as visits of Indian diplomats or Chinese academics), the variety of topics for discussion and consultations are unlimited." Image: heading of blog

Having The World Understand Your Culture Is Much Greater Security Than Another Submarine! - Androulla Vassiliou - venitism.blogspot.com: "Developing a more active and dynamic role for European culture on the international scene has been one of my key priorities as European Commissioner for culture. I believe it should be a priority for the next Commission as well.

Cultural cooperation and cultural diplomacy offer the best opportunity to show the richness and diversity of one's culture to the world. Establishing two-way, equal and productive dialogues with countries from outside the EU will benefit our mutual understanding, as well as open new opportunities for our cultural and creative sectors. But beyond that, culture as an enabler of public diplomacy, is a way of sharing our values, such as respect for human rights, diversity and equality, the independence of culture, and, ultimately, the creation of an inclusive society. In the EU, we are 'united in our diversity'. This is the measure of our ambition and our challenge to act together." Image from entry

Malaysian Flight 370: A Case Study in How NOT to conduct Public Diplomacy - Tara Sonneshine, takefiveblog.org: "Malaysian Flight 370—specifically how the Malaysian government has handled the crisis to date—shows the negative side of public diplomacy, and reminds us why crisis communications matters. From the moment the airplane disappeared from radar in the early morning hours of March 8, , the government in Kuala Lumpur faced a challenging task of communicating with its own citizens and citizens overseas.

With passengers from a dozen countries on board—most of them Chinese—the public diplomacy assignment required careful, consistent, and credible information sharing. That never happened. The result was conflicting stories, shifting narratives, and an overall picture of confusion. Now it will be difficult for the Malaysians to re-establish credibility. ... Tara Sonenshine is a distinguished fellow at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs. Previously, she served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs." Image from entry, with caption: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, Malaysia’s Minister for Transport Hishamuddin Hussein, left, and director general of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, deliver a statement on the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner on Mar. 15, 2014.

Iran: “Hey Y’all” — Tehran’s Soft Power Takes on Southern US Accent - Scott Lucas,
"On Wednesday, Iranians celebrated Sizdah Bedar, the 13th day of the New Year. Families and friends gathered in the countryside and green spaces for picnics. But it was not just a day for relaxation: the Rouhani Government used Sizdah Bedar for some soft power — and they did it not in Farsi, but in English with a Southern US accent. Meet Iran, a website established last year to support the administration’s public diplomacy, tweeted: "Listen up y'all. For real BBQ flavor, u need to a) NOT pay attention to hygiene and b) go #Rambo on that chicken [.]"

The chicken is not exactly what I grew up with in Alabama, and the geography is a bit different. However, the language is impeccable. There’s the 'y’all', which is definitely from the Heart of Dixie and the correct spelling of barbecue. ... This wasn’t the only notable tweet on Sizdah Behar.

As the Rouhani Government is under pressure from hardliners for its campaign to open up culture, Meet Iran tries to score a couple of points with this image of a woman — jeans-clad, smoking, and a scarf barely covering her hair." Images from entry

Netanyahu’s Defining Hour: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu needs to understand that unconditionally releasing the final group of Palestine prisoners would put the ball back in the court of the Palestinian Authority - Lauren Harrison, fpif.org: Critics say that the Israeli public will not stand for an unconditioned prisoner release, that public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of releasing 'terrorists' in light of the deep mistrust, stalled negotiations, and escalating violence.

Yet if we look back to past prisoner releases in Israel, we know this is not always true: in 2011, at a time of escalating violence between the two sides, Israelis rejoiced when over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were released in order to secure Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit’s release. Earlier prisoner exchanges with Hezbollah were also largely accepted by the public, in spite of the lopsided nature of the deals. With some clever public diplomacy, an unconditioned release of this last group of prisoners could be marketed as Israel’s grand gesture to the Palestinian Authority, one that comes at the eleventh hour of negotiations and with a serious expectation of reciprocity. Uncaptioned image from entry

Minister of Public Diplomacy on “Cyber War” Against Israel [video] - Cyber War News and Information: All the Cyber War news thats fit to virtualize and more!

News and Views from ‘Arlene in Israel’ -- The Insanity Deepens - Arlene Kushner, jewsdownunder.wordpress.com: "[Comment by:] Leon Poddebsky [:] Arlene, why is it that no Israeli government has ever undertaken a strenuous diplomatic and public diplomacy campaign to stress that Israel has indisputable, inalienable, legitimate and legal grounds for sovereignty over Judea and Samaria?

Israel does not need to divulge at this stage which territory ,if any, it is prepared to relinquish, but the incessant slandering of Israel for its supposed 'occupation' is very damaging, and the slander can easily be proven to be a Goebbelesque lie. Over the years I have asked this question of Israeli representatives, but have never received a satisfactory, clear explanation for this apparent Israeli deficiency." Image heading of blog

Guardian Review of ‘Noah’ Slams Israel for ‘Land Grabs’ - Adam Levick, algemeiner.com: "Comment by] Julian Clovelley: I rather feel Mr Levick, in his composition of what I read as ultra conservative propaganda, is using the people that he claims to be defending, for a purpose that history has demonstrated is not in their long term interest – support for the

Rise within our social democracy of an extremist Right. ... REPLY Wallace Edward Brand ... Nonsense. Julian Clovelly needs to do a little research. He has evidently been brainwashed by the 'public diplomacy' of the Soviet Union and the Arabs paid for by his petrodollars." Image from entry, with caption: First look of Russell Crowe as Noah.

PDcast #20: China’s Environmental Diplomacy and Russia in Bangladesh - Michael Ardaiolo, thepublicdiplomat.com.

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Ethiopian government figure says no worries about Eritrean oppositions if Eritrea forms - ESAT News: "Getachew Reda, who was the Director General of the Public Diplomacy and Communications Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before his current appointment as the Press and Publicity State Minister at the Office of the Prime Minister, said the Ethiopian government

does not have any problem if the Ethiopian government changes its positions and comes to peaceful deal with us as the Eritrean opposition are under our armpits and we have no worries." Image: heading of entry

Fat Cat cull is not enough - Phil na Champassak, tasmaniantimes.com: "Phil na Champassak owns The Madsen Boutique Hotel in Penguin and is a founding board member of the Cradle Coast Innovation Inc fostering enterprise facilitation. He is also a board member of the Cradle Coast Tourism Executive, the regional tourism organisation for NW Tasmania.

Formerly a diplomat and DFAT policy analyst, Phil has worked on trade, aid, public diplomacy, consular, international security, and bilateral relations with PNG, the US, and NZ, and was most recently DFAT State Director for Tasmania." na Champassak image from entry


Surveillance, propaganda and selective memories: The Ukraine crisis is revealing a world that resembles scenes from George Orwell's 1984 - Padraig Cradoc, independent.ie: The world is becoming increasingly Orwellian.

First, the revelations about the US spying agency, the NSA , established that Big Brother is really watching you. Then Oceania (the 'West') is suddenly involved in a conflict with Eurasia (Russia), recalling the scene in Nineteen Eighty Four (Orwell's novel) in which the enemy is switched in the middle of a propaganda speech. And then the developments that led up to this are consigned to the 1984 'memory hole', as if they never existed. Image from

NATO condemns ‘propaganda’ after Russia cries foul - James G. Neuger, concordmonitor.com: NATO accused Russia of spreading “propaganda” after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the U.S.-led alliance broke a commitment to limit its forces in eastern European countries. Russia, not NATO, is trampling on pledges made in the 1990s by wresting control of Crimea and massing troops near Ukraine’s borders, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels. “This is just another piece of Russian propaganda and disinformation,” Rasmussen said. “Russia is violating every principle and international commitment it has made, first and foremost the commitment not to invade other countries.”

Russia Launched a Propaganda War Against Ukrainians — And They're Fighting Back - Lolita Brayman, policymic.com: Russia has been waging a media war against Ukraine's post-revolutionary government, painting the new leadership as a group brimming with far-right extremism. It's an "information offensive," according to boxer-turned-politician Vitali Klitschko. Prior to the annexation of Crimea, Kremlin-funded TV channels used a pretext of fascism and evoked a humanitarian crisis in order

to legitimize Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions in the region. More recently, misleading headlines depict a violent and lawless country: "Ukraine radicals rob Russian train passengers" and "Ukraine blocks cargo for peacekeepers," to name a few. The cost of misinformation is steep: It has the ability to provoke, polarize and widen the cultural gap between Ukrainians and ethnic Russians residing in Ukraine, thereby increasing the likelihood of a fierce civil war between the two groups. In support of their new government, Ukrainians are now mobilizing by fighting prejudiced, dangerous Russian reporting online and providing public relations backing. Image from entry, with caption: Image Credit: Euromaidan PR

The Media Industry as a Cultural Mirror in India and the United States - Jeremie Gluckman, artsdiplomacy.com: American commercial entertainment has the opportunity to engage global audiences in meaningful ways by offering technical assistance to emerging media sectors abroad. There are American groups that seek to engage nations and populations through local and regional TV channels abroad such as Layalina Productions or America Abroad Media, which recently honored Amir Khan for his TV series Satyamev Jayatethat explores some of India’s biggest social challenges. In the U.S., Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media produces entertainment that inspires and compels social change. The movies of Mira Nair such as the 1991 film Mississippi Masala or The Namesake released in 2006 present visions of the Indian-American experience. “In India, before every film you have to stand up and sing the national anthem; we take cinema very seriously,” explains Mishra.

“American movies are very prevalent. If you walk into any theater there are at least two Hollywood films on view. Virtually everyone in India watches Hollywood movies since childhood; everybody knows about America. Similarly, people abroad know more about India because they have seen Indian films. As an Indian, I know about the culture of Maharashtra through Marathi films; I know about Bengal because I have grown up watching Bengali movies. Film and media helps you know about your culture and the culture of others especially if you do not limit yourself to mainstream cinema.” Image from entry, with caption: The American superhero film Thor screens along-side the Bollywood superhero action blockbuster of the year 2013, Krrish 3.

Behind Russia's 'Neo-Nazi' Propaganda Campaign in Ukraine: Kiev is largely peaceful, but that could hinge on further U.S. support, opposition ministers say - Paul D. Shinkman, U.S. News and World Report: The Russian government’s assertions that Ukraine is falling into the hands of violent and widespread neo-Nazi thugs is not just an exaggeration, but entirely baseless, according to observers in Kiev.

The use of propaganda has proved to be a critical tool for all sides of the latest revolution in Ukraine, beginning in Kiev’s central Maidan Square in late 2013 and culminating in the ouster of the pro-Moscow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych this February. The new opposition government must now figure out how to parry continued Russian slander while fulfilling its promise of reforming the government along Western lines. Image from entry, with caption: A so-called Maidan self defense unit member stands in central Kiev, Ukraine.

CIA used 'Doctor Zhivago' as a propaganda tool in Russia, says new book: According to Peter Finn and Petra Couvée's new book 'The Zhivago Affair,' the CIA believed the novel could be used as propaganda. '[W]e have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government,' a CIA memo stated - Husna Haq, Christian Science Monitor: How’s this for a CIA secret: Among the biggest supporters of Russian classic “Doctor Zhivago

was theCentral Intelligence Agency, which brought Boris Pasternak and his novel widespread success thanks to a secret printing that was part of a campaign to stir dissent in the Soviet Union. “Drop books, not bombs” appears to have been among the techniques adopted by the US during the Cold War, according to a new book excerpted by the Washington Post describing the fascinating back story of one of the most recognized Russian classics in literature. The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book,” by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée, tells the story of how the CIA helped Pasternak’s novel gain entrée into Soviet society and how books play an important role in political and cultural warfare. Some 130 freshly declassified CIA documents describe the unusual story behind “Doctor Zhivago." The Soviet Union had banned publication of the novel, but when an Italian publisher happened to discover it, “Doctor Zhivago” was published in Italian in 1957. A mere two months later, British intelligence sent photos of the book’s pages to the CIA, urging the American agency to use the Russian novel as a means of propaganda. The CIA was intrigued. "This book has great propaganda value,” a CIA memo stated “not only for its intrinsic message and thought-provoking nature, but also for the circumstances of its publication.”  “[W]e have the opportunity to make Soviet citizens wonder what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is not even available in his own country in his own language for his own people to read.” Thus began a cunning clandestine literary operation. Image from entry

Holland Museum opens exhibit of Nazi propaganda and Dutch Resistance art - Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, mlive.com: The Holland Museum has opened an exhibition of Nazi propaganda and Dutch Resistance art in a show titled, “Art and Propaganda in Nazi-Occupied Holland.” The traveling exhibition of art from the Anne Frank Center USA in New York City opened Saturday, April 5, and continues for six months at the museum. The art in the colorful exhibition evoke the horrors experienced by Hollanders at home during World War II as well as the despair and suffering of those held in German concentration camps. Parents are cautioned the subject matter might not be appropriate for young children. Items portray the Nazi effort to encourage the Dutch population to support the German Wehrmacht against the forces of Bolshevism.

Dutch and Allied posters from the Holland Museum collection that countered these images are also exhibited. The new, traveling exhibition, which debuted in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in March 2013, is the only exhibition of Nazi propaganda and Dutch Resistance art from the Anne Frank Center USA. "Art and Propaganda in Nazi-Occupied Holland" includes eight original propaganda posters distributed by the Nazi-controlled Dutch government. Image from entry, with caption: "It Can't Happen Here" by Harry Waters Armstrong, who was born in 1883 and raised in New York. He and his wife had a summer home in Manistee.

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