Monday, July 14, 2014

July 13-14 Public Diplomacy Review

"[W]ho are we on Facebook or Twitter if not an avatar of the persona that we’d like to project?"

--TechDigest editor James O'Malley;  image from


Has Washington's attitude toward Modi changed as he visits U.S.? - Daya Gamage, "How ... [will] Obama's Washington and his overseas public diplomacy arm - State Department - deal with Prime Minister Modi now that he has accepted Mr. Obama's invitation to meet with him for bilateral talks when he visits Washington end of September? ... Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accepted a formal invitation from President Barack Obama to visit the US in September this year. The American president sent a letter of invitation with

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who is visiting India. Mr Burns, who had met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Jully 10, said President Obama looked forward to meeting Prime Minister Modi in September and that it would be a 'valuable opportunity' to renew the strategic partnership and spur trade between the two countries." Image from entry, with caption: Deputy US State Secretary William Burns meets premier Modi in Delhi

Tilting at World Cups - Paul Rockower, Levantine: Well, our favorite public diplomacy knight-errant Don Pablo Quixote has completed his most recent quest of bringing the Dulcinea Dellas and the Clintonistas to tour Brazil during the World Cup. In Northern Brazil, The Clinton Curtis Band created incredible, meaningful music connections through rock, blues and roots music that truly moved the audiences they encountered in Vitoria, Recife and Brasilia. And they learned themselves of Brazil's glorious music traditions of congo and frevo, as the let music connect us in true commonality. ... In Southern Brazil, Della Mae wowed Brazilian audiences with their deft musical abilities as they shared joys of bluegrass, and the Dellas charmed them with their grace and pluck.

The Dellas and their new musical friends perhaps even invented the newest form of music to come out of Brazil: Chorograss. In Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Campo Grande, Sorocaba, Taubate and Sao Paulo, Della Mae continued to prove themselves as some of the finest cultural diplomatesses that the State Department has ever seen. ... Programs like this cannot be done without the tremendous work of partners. Muito obregado to the U.S. Embassy in Brazil, and the U.S. Consulates in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife. Muito obregado to CAO Danna Van Brandt, who spearheaded the project, and to CASes Cezar Borsa, Joyce Costa and Maria Estella Correa of Post Sao Paulo. Muito obregado to CAO Jessica Simon and CAS Carla Waehneldt of Post Rio; muito obregado to CAO Matt Keener and CAS Stuart Beechler of Post Recife; muito obregado to CAS Karla Carneiro and ACAO Marion Lange. Muito obregado to all the local partner institutions that hosted the artists, that opened their concert halls and cultural centers to allow us to share American music and culture. As for this Quixote, the next windmill is Serbia to run the Next Level academy in Belgrade and Novi Sad in late July." Uncaptioned image from entry

Religion, Sports Exchanges Bring Iranians and Americans Closer - Barbara Slavin, "While U.S. and Iranian negotiators labor to reach a long-term nuclear agreement, other Americans and Iranians are stepping up contacts in a new wave of people-to-people diplomacy. In recent months, three American religious delegations have visited Iran while the first group of female Iranian seminary students came to the United States. Sports exchanges are also on the rise again,

spearheaded by American wrestlers who find far more numerous and passionate fans in Iran than in many countries, including the U.S." Image from entry, with caption: An Iranian wrestler warms up beside an American flag before his match during the 2009 Takhti Free Style Wrestling Tournament in Tehran.

YOU can help the immigrant children! - TexMex, Daily Kos: "[Reader Comment:] Alternatively (3+ / 0-)It's time to revise the tax code, make the uber-wealthy in this country (of which there are a LOT) pay more, cut the military budget and reapportion it to domestic and public diplomacy needs and regain what we once had as a world leader. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke by noweasels on Wed Jul 09, 2014 at 09:46:34 PM PDT"

hunting the wild psaki just will not work, you will never get it at bay - "[Comment by:] Mike Maloney [:] I think USG — I know this seems far-fetched — is much closer to some sort of paradigm shift than is generally acknowledged. When have you seen 'public diplomacy' lag so far behind actually events? I can’t get over how quickly GWOT has been tossed overboard in favor of a shadowy WWIV against the axis of evil: Russia-Iran-China-Syria. The public has been left to fend for itself in understanding the re-write. No work has been done to prepare it for the change. I think this disconnect augurs ill for stability within the Western core."

A historical perspective on H.R. 4490 debate — propaganda — public diplomacy — VOA Charter - "It is important to note for historical background and as a contribution to the current debate over H.R. 4490 that Voice of America operated in its early years under the direction of the State Department and later was part of the United States Information Agency (USIA) which was a public diplomacy arm of the State Department. ... [I]t is inaccurate to claim that VOA was never connected in some way with U.S. public diplomacy. ... We are again not saying that VOA should be in the U.S. public diplomacy business, but it should at least stop advancing other countries’ public diplomacy and start observing its charter. The result of mismanagement at IBB and VOA is sometimes propaganda in favor of the Kremlin, such as VOA posting a map showing Crimea being part of Russia or VOA reporting without any questions asked on pro-Kremlin propaganda results of a faulty poll ordered in Russia-occupied Crimea by International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives who also promoted these misleading survey results. Almost all critics of H.R. 4490

with regard to the bill’s wording about VOA’s mission also recognize the urgent need of management reform at the BBG and the Voice of America. The VOA Charter represents the right compromise, under which VOA can maintain its news reporting independence while still giving U.S. taxpayers and foreign audiences something extra about the United States. It need not to be public diplomacy and it certainly should not be propaganda. But a return to the VOA Charter is absolutely necessary, as are management reforms to reverse VOA’s decline as a news and broadcasting organization." On H.R. 4490, see. Image from

Chinese Martial Arts in the News: July 14th, 2014: Popular Culture, Martial Arts Studies and a Shaolin Update - Benjudkins, "'Kung Fu diplomacy,' meaning the ways in which the traditional martial arts are used as tool of public diplomacy by China or other states, is a subject that I try to cover with some regularity . ... These stories often highlight the intersection of political and economic trends ..., as well as demonstrating the changing nature of this aspect of physical culture for 'Chinese identity.' It is a subject that is of central interest to students of Chinese martial studies. Recent weeks have seen a number of developments on the Kung Fu Diplomacy front, all of which provide fascinating glimpses into China’s larger foreign policy stance for those who are interested in reading the tea leaves.  To begin with, the governments of Tanzania and China have agreed to dramatically increase the number of local African students who will be sent to China to study language, culture and the martial arts. Under the new agreement 100 students a year will be sent to China in a bid to increase the number of individuals in that state who are fluent in both Chinese language and culture.  Obviously this story plays into the larger narrative of

China’s economic expansion in the area.  Its pretty clear that the actual goals of both states go well beyond cultural exchange and martial arts education.  Still, its fascinating that the Kung Fu instruction that is one part of this program is what receives the most press. Nor are these efforts restricted to the African continent.  The China Daily ran a story which focused on the role of native Chinese instructors in staffing cultural day camps in the United States.  Once again martial arts instruction was discussed as a leading element of the overall program of cultural exchange.  … Lastly the US and China have signed a far reaching document designed to promote and regulate many aspects of cultural exchange between the two states.  The range of activities that fall under the authority of this agreement appear to be very broad. … [Another] item that caught my attention was a report on Paul 'Typhoon' Cheng, a One FC heavyweight fighter.  Cheng was born in Taiwan but was raised in Canada, holds a Canadian passport, and came to the martial arts through his work as a Hollywood stuntman. His personal story has a lot of elements that are interesting to those who think about the cultural translation and migration of the martial arts. Also interesting is how Cheng fits into the current trend of western fighters heading to China in an attempt to jump-start their market both through raising the profile of the art in the ring and providing coaching to up and coming fighters. Cheng’s dual Chinese and western identity puts him in an ideal position to be just such a figure." Cheng image from entry

Beijing, Taipei, and Hong Kong: One Step Forward, One Step Back - Alex Calvo, "After reporting from East Asia dominated by clashes at sea for weeks, the trip to Taiwan by Zhang Zhijun seemed to offer a glimpse of hope for the peaceful resolution of the myriad disputes haunting the region. The minister for the PRC’s State Council-level Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) is not only the highest-ranking communist official to visit the Island to date, but met with Chen Chu, a member of the DPP and current mayor of Kaohsiung, while focusing on Southern Taiwan, where support for formal independence has traditionally been highest. Thus, in addition to deploying a new and powerful brand of public diplomacy, Zhang seemed to go straight to the heart of the matter, bypassing an administration seen by many as too close to Beijing for comfort, and engaging those segments of the population and political organizations more reluctant to closer ties to the People’s Republic.

It would be unfair to deny that, in doing so, Zhang is indeed breaking new ground. The question is, however, are we talking only about form or also about substance? Does Beijing’s willingness to directly engage those in favour of formal independence signal a new approach to Taiwan, or is it just a public-relations exercise behind which no real policy change can be observed? While it may be too soon to answer this question, and to be fair Zhang deservers the benefit of the doubt, events in Hong Kong are casting a long shadow on Chinese policy towards Taiwan. In a badly-timed move, Beijing’s publication of a white paper on ‘One Country, Two Systems’ (designed for Taiwan and applied in Hong Kong) and Chinese harsh words on HK’s unofficial ‘Occupy Central’ referendum (plus the seizing of voting materials at the border) could be seen by the Taiwanese as proof that, should they accept renouncing formal independence and somehow coming to be under Beijing’s umbrella there would be no real guarantee for whatever degree of autonomy the Island was promised. ...
[W]hile Beijing’s decision to send a top official to Taiwan to engage with the public in traditionally pro-independence areas and to meet the mayor of Kaohsiung marks, without a doubt, a break from past practices, the simultaneous questioning of the foundations of Hong Kong’s status and the aggressive attitude toward the unofficial ‘Occupy Central’ referendum cast a long shadow on the possibility of convincing the Taiwanese to accept PRC sovereignty under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ formula. More than ever, Chinese policy towards Hong Kong and towards Taiwan are intertwined, and no amount of spin and public diplomacy can change that." Image from

Public diplomacy a central front of ongoing military operation - Lahav Harkov, "The Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign Ministry have been hard at work spreading Israel’s message in Operation Protective Edge for the last week in an effort that is mostly paying off, experts on public diplomacy in and out of the government said Sunday. 'We see [public diplomacy] as a war front like any other,' Foreign Ministry Deputy Director-General for Communications and Public Diplomacy Arthur Koll explained. 'It’s a different kind of warfare, not one where missiles are flying or gunshots, but there is great importance to words, feelings and the sympathies people develop. It’s important to our national security. In this operation, it’s a central arena.' National Information Directorate in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry, together with the IDF Spokesman, work together to explain Israel’s side of the story, coordinating messages and talking points. Director of the National Information Directorate Yarden Vatikai explained he has representatives in meetings at the highest levels so public diplomacy goals match the decisions made in the security cabinet. On traditional media, Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Mark Regev, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor and the IDF Spokesman gave television, radio and print interviews. At the same time, Israel’s 102 ambassadors and consuls gave interviews to the media in the countries in which they are stationed. Cabinet ministers are also briefed so they can relay Israel’s message in a manner consistent to how it is being given around the world. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also appeared on traditional media in the US, talking to Face the Nation on CBS, Fox News Sunday, and State of the Union on CNN. 'The prime minister invests in public diplomacy and deals with it all the time,' Vatikai said. 'Netanyahu and the Security Cabinet are currently dealing with four fronts: Military, diplomatic, the home front and public diplomacy.' The Foreign Ministry has websites in five languages and websites for each of Israel’s missions abroad has a website in its local language, plus the ministry reaches millions of followers on social media. The Israeli mission in China alone has more than a million online followers in its various social media outlets, Koll said. The Prime Minister’s Office has a volunteer 'war room' of university students using social media to promote Israel’s cause, and Bar-Ilan University and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya students are taking part in similar online activities. After Operation Pillar of Defense, the Foreign Ministry produced You-Tube videos showing children and elderly people in everyday situations, when suddenly an air-raid siren goes off.

The videos were only posted online once Operation Protective Edge began. The IDF constantly posted videos online of how it warns Gazans of upcoming attacks and tells them to leave the vicinity before a building is blown up. Some show the IDF calling off bombings when civilians are spotted near the target. Government offices are working in close cooperation with NGOs, making information available for them to disseminate to their contacts. Several NGO representatives were briefed by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi on Sunday. 'Governmental bodies have been more assertive of their case and quicker to respond and have had the facts at their fingertips while making Israel’s case to the world,' Public diplomacy NGO StandWithUs Israel office director Michael Dickson said. 'For me there’s another forum – social media and public opinion. The public can play a greater role on a different playing field than government officials.' According to Dickson, Israelis under fire are reaching out on social media more than ever before, using information from the government as well as relaying their own experiences to show what Israel is facing. All of these efforts, however, are not enough, Prof. Eitan Gilboa of Bar-Ilan University, an expert on public diplomacy, said. 'There’s not enough manpower, resources or activities dedicated to public diplomacy,' he added. According to Gilboa, the government should have prepared in advance by discrediting Hamas in the international arena. In addition, he said, the prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister should be making statements to the foreign press daily and repeat that Hamas targets civilian towns and Israel is using measured force. 'We use a policy of early warning while Hamas tells people to go to the roof and become human shields. Our policymakers should say that every day. People have short memories… These things have to be repeated,' Gilboa posited. The government is familiar with complaints about public diplomacy, but Koll said this time there have been few. 'Every Israeli citizen wants 100 percent of the world to understand and sympathize with us and we aim for as big an influence as possible, but what’s important is that we send the right message and effectively reach the maximal target audience,' Koll stated. One major problem that everyone The Jerusalem Post spoke to Sunday pointed out is that there are many more casualties in Gaza than in Israel, and photos from Gaza trigger an emotional response. 'We’re lucky to have the Iron Dome, but it’s a challenge to public diplomacy,' Gilboa explained. 'The death and destruction equation works against Israel. The more you hurt civilian populations, the more you cause suffering, the more the media and public opinion, especially in the West, will turn against you.' Photos of destroyed houses and dead women and children are attractive to the mass media, Gilboa said. 'You feel for these people, but [foreign press] fails to mention missiles were being stored under the house and fired from around it,' Gilboa stated. 'According to international law, if you fire from a place, the other side has the right to respond there. The fact that Hamas is using human shields should not be forgotten, but is not mentioned. I don’t see context in print or video media.' According to Gilboa, Palestinian violations of international law by firing from civilian areas in Gaza to civilian areas in Israel are 'a tremendous public diplomacy weapon' that Israel is not properly utilizing. 'Our main challenge is the story of civilian casualties and explaining the cynical way Hamas is using innocent people,' Koll admitted. Dickson pointed out that 'people in Gaza are living under oppression and can give out one particular message in line with people ruling them. We’re a democracy, so we have multiple voices coming out.”'Still, Koll and Vatikai both said the international media is more understanding of the context in their coverage of Operation Protective Edge than in previous rounds of fighting, and present Israel as defending itself from Hamas attacks on civilian populations. Vatikai credited Netanyahu’s waiting several days to start the operation, despite facing criticism from the Right, with bringing the friendlier- than-usual media environment. In addition, Koll pointed out that many media sources are reporting the fact that Hamas uses human shields, shoots rockets from areas full of civilians and hides weaponry in mosques and homes. 'I don’t think we’ll ever have a fully balanced media picture, but I think right now, on day six, [government public diplomacy] is doing everything right so far,' Dickson commented. Dickson commended the government, saying there is a vast improvement in flow of information from Israel since the Second Lebanon War in 2006. 'Israel slowly but steadily improved in that regard and this is the best I’ve ever seen,' he said. Still, Dickson called for the public to use whatever tools it has to relay Israel’s message: 'As much as the government is doing a better job than before, we have a role we can play as well and it’s no less important.[']" Image from

Israel's Government is Paying College Students to Spread Pro-Israel propaganda on Social Media - "A lot of the discussion and debate about the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been taking place on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sources. In light of that, I think it’s important for people to know that social media is by no means immune to government propaganda. Far from it in fact. Back in August of last year, a statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced that the Israeli government would be giving scholarships to college students who, 'engage international audiences online' by posting pro-Israel tweets/statuses etc. online. ... Students at each university are organized into units. At the top is the chief-coordinator, who gets a full scholarship. Under the chief-coordinator

are three 'desk coordinators' in charge of language, graphics and research who receive lesser scholarships. Then there are student 'activists' who receive, 'minimal scholarships'. The program is run by Danny Seamen, an Israeli public diplomacy official who drew the ire of Muslims in the region when he posted the following status on his personal Facebook page: 'Does the commencement of the fast of the Ramadan mean that Muslims will stop eating each other during the daytime?' Despite the fact that Israeli officials condemned the status, calling it 'unacceptable' and saying that it didn’t, 'reflect the position of the Israeli government,' Seaman somehow still ended up in charge of the social media propaganda campaign. ... I agree whole-heartedly with Netanyahu that we must 'fight for the truth' and 'refute the industry of lies'. But you don’t do that by bribing college kids to post pro-government sound-bites, and you definitely don’t do it by putting a man in charge who has proven he cares more about inciting anger and hate than he does about spreading truth." Seaman image from entry

Israel take the battle in Gaza to social media: How diplomacy now takes place on Twitter - James O'Malley, "Israel has continued to use the power of social media to try to win public support for its actions. ... Israel’s actions – whether justified or not (again, we’re not getting into that debate) – are proving hugely controversial around the world, so rather than wait for the media to come to it, the army ... known as the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) is incredibly

pro-active on social media. ... [T]he IDF routinely post up videos to YouTube of successful airstrikes. ... There are also suggestions that not all of the IDF’s social media activity is above board. Whilst it is probably not the worst thing the IDF have done (any group that has guns has a tendency to use them at some point), there have been claims that 'sock puppets' have been created to advance the Israeli point of view. ... Unsurprisingly, Hamas and other groups opposed to Israel have also taken to Twitter to combat @IDFspokesperson, but as of yet none seem to have quite reached the same level of slickness or sophistication." Image from entry (from and IDF Tweet)

It is too easy to always blame ‘hasbara’ - Herb Keinon, "As the [Hamas/Isreal] fighting winds on, voices are being raised inside Israel and among its supporters abroad saying, again, 'If we only had better hasbara (public diplomacy).' If we only we had better spokespeople, better footage, better videos, better arguments, we could present our case to the world and they would be on our side. ... Were that it was so easy. Granted, Israel’s hasbara, like almost everything else in the world, could be better. We could have better and more videos to circulate on social media, we could have more eloquent spokesman (though, truth be told, the ones out there are not too bad), we could come up with better answers. But our problem is not with hasbara.

Our problem is that we are fighting an asymmetrical war. As good and reasoned and sensible and logical as our arguments are, we are going to have a tough time competing with television images of Palestinians looking for their loved ones through the rubble of twisted metal rods and broken slabs of concrete. ... The problem is not that Israel’s message is not getting across, the problem is not that the spokesm[e]n are not effectively presenting a strong case or talking to the world’s reporters. The problem is that there are parts of the world that will not accept our arguments and has simply closed its ears, for a variety of reasons, to what we have to say. ... Public diplomacy, in general, is one element of diplomacy, one tool in the diplomatic tool box designed at getting your narrative accepted by people who matter: by decision makers, politicians, elites. Israel’s diplomacy over the last week has been aimed at getting the world to understand why Israel is acting the way it is. Have all the statements from all the capitals been exactly how Israel would have liked them phrased? Obviously not. But in the capitals that really do matter in the world, there is an understanding as to what Israel is doing, and why. The world has given Jerusalem a week to pound Hamas. That is by no means a given, and that – too – is a product of hasbara." Image from entry, with caption: Rocket fired from Gaza toward southern Israel, June 24, 2014

Iran Daily: Muslims, NGOs must isolate Israel - "ˈIran Dailyˈ on Saturday vehemently criticized the world powers silence, the UNSCˈs apathy, the US, the so-called human rights organizations and the Western countries for failing and refusing to speak out against Tel Avivˈs inhuman atrocities on the innocent Gazans. Given the backing of the UN and Western countries for Israeli crimes against Palestinians, time is ripe for Muslim countries to review their policies on Israel.

And, given to the loyalty of some Muslim governments to the dominating powers, Muslims and non-governmental organizations should use public diplomacy to put pressure on the Israeli regime,ˈ urged the English-language paper in its Opinion column. ... Israel’s drone attacks on the civilians, bombing of Palestinians’ homes, the door-to-door searches of their homes, putting thousands of Palestinians behind bars and attacks on Palestinian girls and women are among the traits of Israeli troops. Israel’s ongoing attacks on the besieged area are due to its consecutive defeats against the resistance front in Lebanon and Palestine, noted the daily. It is high time Muslims and non-governmental organizations use public diplomacy to put pressure on the Israeli regime, urged the paper in conclusion." Uncaptioned image from entry

Terrorists, Freedom Fighters, Diplomacy, and Memory - Marcus Noland, "[T]he Abe government’s counterproductive public diplomacy appears to be out of step with the broader Japanese public."

From English lessons to Cambridge scholarships: UK spends £700,000 on North Korea programmes: Foreign Office releases breakdown of spending on projects related to North Korea since 2011, including more than £95,000 on hosting Pyongyang officials in UK. North Korea Tech reports - Martyn Williams, Entry includes a listing of the programs.

11 ambassadors to join youth camp - "Ambassadors from 11 countries will meet middle and high school students through a public diplomacy program prepared by a non-profit group. The Korea Culture and Diplomatic Mission (KCDM), a group established to help Koreans build awareness of global cultures, said that it will host the three-day Youth Ambassador Academy at the International Youth Center in Gangseo-gu, Seoul, Aug. 4. Under the program, ambassadors from 11 countries, including the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Malaysia and Colombia, will give presentations about their cultures and countries to some 110 middle and high school students."

International ILEM Summer School 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey - "2nd International ILEM Summer School will take place in Istanbul, Turkey on 23-29 August 2014. The ILEM Summer School will be organized by ILEM with the support of T. R. Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities

and The Office of Public Diplomacy. The main theme of the summer school is 'The State and Society in Muslim World' and under this title, state and society relations will be critically examined." Image from entry

Programme Officer - Royal Danish Embassy, "Main Responsibilities [include] ... Contribute to the Embassy’s external communication and public diplomacy."


Diplomacy Can Still Save Iraq - Vali R. Nasr, New York Times: America can build a diplomatic plan on the common interest in keeping Iraq intact. It can rally the region and nations around it. It needs to start the effort now.

Spies Like Us - Jochen Bittner, New York Times: To the Americans, intelligence gathering since 9/11 has been part of a war. Germans would never think that way. To them, intelligence services should play by the rules, as in a game of Scrabble. To the Americans, intelligence gathering since 9/11 has been part of a war. Germans would never think that way. To them, intelligence services should play by the rules, as in a game of Scrabble. Germany’s stance emerges in part from the bad experiences with intelligence services in the past, namely the Gestapo and the Stasi. On top of this comes a deeply ingrained antimilitarism, and -- not to be underestimated -- a growing anti-Americanism. When the Germans hear “C.I.A.,” they think of Latin American coups, rendition flights and covert killings.

The C.I.A. needs to stop wasting time, energy and money on our intelligence people — and respect us Germans as we are. A bit reluctant at times, but generally highly reliable. As in any relationship, respect will be worth a lot more in the long run than the short-term gains of impatient snooping. Image from

Propaganda song popular among Central Americans was devised by U.S. Border Patrol - Jessica Chasmar, Washington Times: A hit song in Central America was reportedly devised by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as a propaganda push to deter migrants from riding “death trains” to the border. “La Bestia,” or “The Beast” refers to a network of Mexican freight trains that migrants use as an extremely dangerous method of traveling to the U.S. border, where riders face the constant threat of robbery, kidnapping, rape and murder. The song, “La Bestia,” by Spanish crooner Eddie Ganz, is a favorite among radio listeners in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, where it’s currently being played by 21 different carriers. Customs and Border Protection announced plans earlier this month to launch a million-dollar “Dangers Awareness Campaign,” aimed at warning families about the dangers encountered by unaccompanied minors who attempt to travel from Central America to the U.S.

'Chinese here are under watch’  [subscription] - Rowan Callick, Beijing is manipulating the ­Chinese-Australian media and conducting systematic surveillance of Chinese Australians and resident Chinese, according to a controversial new paper. John Fitzgerald, one of Australia’s leading experts on ­Chinese-Australian community affairs, says that “Chinese Australians are being lectured, monitored, organised and policed in Australia on instruction from Beijing as never before."

The animatronic presidency: How presidential museums become propaganda palaces, whitewashing Bush’s disasters and Clinton’s failings: At presidential museums, even the cynical melt before multimillion-dollar efforts to portray scoundrels as leaders - Thomas Frank, Salon: "Unfortunately, presidential libraries and historical scrutiny are not the same thing. They aren’t even in the same category, really.

I visited three of the most recently built presidential museums a few weeks ago—the Bill Clinton Presidential Center plus two museums commemorating the administrations of men named George Bush—and found them to be, by and large, institutions of bald propaganda, buildings on which hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to cast, literally, in stone, a given individual’s personal war with reality." Image from entry, with caption: An impressive turnout of presidents arrives for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, on May 1, 2014

On Film: WWII Propaganda Films - Charles talks with Andy Uhrich, film archivist, about an online exhibition of WWII propaganda films curated by Indiana University. Hear about why these films were created and why they often targeted specific audiences.

In this online-only extended interview, Andy talks about why these films are important in understanding the culture of the times. View the exhibit here: Image from entry

Freelining with Mike Freeman: Hate-filled propaganda - It’s a truly bizarre and uncomfortable experience to watch the notorious Nazi propaganda film “Jud Suss” 74 years after it was first released in Germany, a lavish costume drama where the residents of a German empire are made to suffer after the introduction into their pleasant world of a cunning, conniving Jew. It’s an absolutely scary film to watch, and not at all in the way that the filmmakers likely intended. Watching an angry German mob scream out “Jew!” in shrill, hate-filled tones, and demand not only his murder (by execution) but also the exile of all Jews from their village — and then to recall

that this was a box office smash in Germany in 1940 — is like watching horror at its most grimly, painful realistic. As morally repellant as “Jud Suss” is today, it also seems invaluable as a historical document in much the same way that “Triumph of the Will” has been – perhaps more so today, in an age when leading Middle East figures like the former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have become vocal champions of the Holocaust denial crowd. Image from entry, with caption: “Jud Suss” remains one of the most notorious films in cinema history, a savage promotion of anti-Semitism under Nazi Germany.


Which country has most nude beachgoers? - Nancy Trejos, USA Today: For the third consecutive year, Germans were the most likely to sunbathe

fully nude, with 28% saying they have spent a day at the beach in the buff. But for the first time this year, Austrians tied them. Image from

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