Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14 Public Diplomacy Review

"There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full."

--Henry Kissinger; image from


Background Briefing En Route to Ankara, Turkey - Special Briefing, Senior State Department Officials, En Route to Ankara, Turkey, September 12, 2014 - "MODERATOR: We’re on our way to Ankara, Turkey. We’re going to do a backgrounder to preview our trip there ... QUESTION: Hi. Can you tell us any more about progress on counter-extremism messaging? You told us in the call the other night that that was going to be a priority. Do you have any specific commitments or anything you can tell us on that front? ... MODERATOR: Yeah. One thing I would just add ... is that one of the reasons that Rick Stengel came, our Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, is to talk about – yes, I know, but for the purposes of the transcript – it was to talk about this issue and kind of hear what many of these countries were saying.

And this is something that he has been and will continue to be engaged in moving forward. So it wasn’t the focus of the meeting, but it certainly is a continuous conversation." Image from

Anti-Islamic State Egypt Cleric Opposes U.S. War on Group [September 14] - Alaa Shahine, "Richard Stengel, under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, will visit the Middle East this month to work with governments and news organizations against giving favorable coverage to Islamist militants, said a U.S. official who asked not to be identified because the trip hasn’t been announced. Among the steps being considered are efforts to raise the profile of leading Muslim clerics and scholars who oppose the Islamic State, the official said."

Hancher's Yarrow to participate in online cultural diplomacy presentation: The U.S. Department of State is hosting a Google+ Hangout on the power of music diplomacy "Jacob Yarrow, programming director for the University of Iowa’s Hancher, will participate in a conversation about cultural diplomacy hosted by the U.S. Department of State. Hancher is a participant in the Department of State’s Center Stage program, which brings musicians from around the world to the United States to engage with American audiences and communities.

On Mon[day], Sept. 15 at 2 p.m., Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Even Ryan will lead a Google+ Hangout on the power of music diplomacy to connect local and global communities in the United States and around the world. Members of the public can participate by joining the Hangout." Yarrow image from entry

Hoba Hoba Spirit Opens DC Leg of US Tour at Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage - Elisabeth Myers, [September 10]: "Hoba Hoba Spirit, a Casablanca-based band, played to a full house last night for the second concert of its US tour, at the Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage in Washington, D.C. Incorporating traditional Moroccan instruments such as qarqaba (Moroccan metal castanets) and darbouka (dumbek/drum) into their original rock music, and singing in Darija (Moroccan Arabic), English and French, Hoba Hoba Spirit’s seven members play Morocc’n Roll, a mixture of homegrown roots, rock, and reggae, with the rythmic swagger of North Africa. The band’s energy and irreverance got the crowd on its feet dancing to the North African beat. The band has a repeat performance at Bossa Bistro in DC tonight. Mara Tekach, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Professional and Cultural Exchanges at the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, introduced the band. Representatives of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco, Driss Alaoui, Counselor, and Yasmina Ait Lahri of the Cultural Section, attended the concert.

Also attending was Stacy White, Cultural Programs Division Chief for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. 'Morocco appreciates the State Department’s Center Stage program which contributes so much to international cultural understanding,' said Mr. Alaoui. 'We welcome all of these energetic ambassadors of Moroccan culture, such as Hoba Hoba Spirit, to the US and wish them well on their tour.' The tour is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State in conjunction with the New England Foundation for the Arts as part of the Center Stage program. The band has engagements in Seattle, Atlanta, New York, Austin, and Cedar Rapids." Image from entry, with caption: Moroccan band, Hoba Hoba Spirit, opened the second leg of the band’s month-long Center Stage tour to the United States with a concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage yesterday." Image from entry, with caption: Moroccan band, Hoba Hoba Spirit, opened the second leg of the band’s month-long Center Stage tour to the United States with a concert at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage yesterday

Voice of America executives took a break at ice-cream social to forget about John Kerry - "Thanks to the power of social media, we have seen photos of Voice of America (VOA) executives, whose six-figure salaries and generous benefits are paid by U.S. taxpayers, relaxing at an ice-cream social

during government office hours on September 9, 2014. While we do not know whether these executives took annual leave to eat ice-cream, the social event

still had to cost U.S. taxpayers plenty of money and staff time while Voice of America was not making adequate arrangements for important news coverage and interviews, including an interview with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry." Images from entry; lower image has caption: Voice of America poster for a bingo night social

The scriptwriter - Mosharraf Zaidi, "[O]ne of the biggest changes in Pakistan is that the state and the idea of the state, have been drained of legitimacy and authority to the point of paralysis.  That single factor is what enables a perpetual stream of invective to be hurled at the country’s institutions, interrupted only by commercial breaks. Parliament is ‘fake’, the judges are ‘sold’, the armed forces are authoring ‘scripts’ and the world is ending! This is the kind of public diplomacy that terror strategists for organisations like Al-Qaeda and the TTP have salivated about for the duration of their existence."

U.K. Embassy accepting scholarship applications - "The British Embassy is now accepting applications from Korean students for the United Kingdom’s Chevening Scholarships until Nov. 15 for the 2015-2016 academic year. North Korean settlers in South Korea are also invited to submit applications for the scholarship, an official at the embassy said. Chevening Scholarships offer the opportunity to study for a one-year master’s degree at any U.K. university, including tuition fees and a monthly stipend. The Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding established or emerging leaders across a wide range of fields, including politics, government, business, the media, the environment, civil society, religion and academia.

The program provides future leaders with a unique opportunity to build a global network of professionals and establish social, cultural, academic and commercial partnerships with Britain, the embassy said. The program operates in 150 countries around the world, and this year will support approximately 1,500 individuals. Around 20 Koreans were selected for the 2014-2015 academic year and an equivalent number of student are eligible for next year, too. The embassy said that the scholarship makes up an important part of its public diplomacy efforts and grants young professionals who have displayed outstanding leadership the opportunity to study in Britain." Image from

Catalan activists look to Scottish campaign as an object lesson - Tobias Buck, “[T]the Catalans are determined to turn Scotland’s independence referendum into a precedent for their own struggle: the regional government in Barcelona says it will hold a regional plebiscite on Catalonia’s political future less than two months later, on November 9. ‘It was feasible in the UK. It was feasible in Canada. So it should be feasible here in Spain,’ says Albert Royo, the secretary-general of Diplocat, the Catalan body that handles public diplomacy.”

Michael Poole Attends Islands Developing States Meeting - "MLA Michael Poole is currently overseas attending the United Nations Third International Conference on Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa. The theme for the conference is ‘the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States

through genuine and durable partnerships.’ ... The SIDS conference concludes on Thursday 4th September, after which MLA Poole and Mr Rendell will spend time in the Pacific region carrying out public diplomacy." Image from

Buffalo Bill lecture set for Sept. 24 in Bozeman - MSU News Service, "Buffalo Bill will be put in transatlantic context when historians from Montana State University and the Netherlands team up to present a free public lecture on the showman Wednesday, Sept. 24, in Bozeman. MSU professor Robert Rydell and Utrecht University professor Rob Kroes will discuss 'Buffalo Bill in Bologna and Beyond from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Baxter Hotel at 105 W. Main St. ... William F. Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill, and his Wild West troupe toured England and Europe several times between 1887 and 1906.

The show appeared twice in cities and towns across Italy. Buffalo Bill played the Vatican in 1890, and a delegation of his performers met with Pope Leo XIII. He was the hit of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887 and of the Paris Universal Exposition in 1889. By 1906, when the Wild West show returned to Bologna, Italy, Cody was no stranger to Europeans. ... In their Bozeman lecture, Rydell and Kroes will reflect on the show’s significance, especially for the trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific worlds. The Wild West shows always featured cowboys and Indians, but what is often overlooked is that the show also featured performers from Russia, Japan, South America and the Middle East. By the end of Buffalo Bill’s career, when he joined forces with another showman, Pawnee Bill, the show was billed as the 'Far East and Far West.' 'Was this show just for fun?' the professors ask. 'Or, should it be taken more seriously as a form of public diplomacy?'” Image from entry, with caption: MSU and Dutch historians will present a Sept. 24 lecture on Buffalo Bill. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)

Did EC president Juncker break protocol by tapping Muscat’s head? He is the President of the European Commission so he will touch your head if he wants to... - Kris Bonnici, [scroll down link for item]: "Making a good impression is important. ... Before founding Diplomatic Envoy Consultancy, Kris was a career diplomat. He worked in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta, in the Protocol and Consular Services Department, and then spent tours of duty in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Serving as Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy in Cairo and Canberra, his diplomatic duties included protocol and etiquette and public diplomacy."


White House still seeking coalition in Mideast war - Charles Babington and Lara Jakes, For the last week, Secretary of State Kerry has traveled across the Mideast, to Turkey and finally Paris, to pin down nations on what kind of support they will give to a global coalition. But Kerry has refused to detail what countries have committed. He said some nations are still

deciding whether their contributions will target foreign fighters or financiers helping the militant group, send more humanitarian aid to Syrian and Iraqi refugees, mount a propaganda campaign to decry the extremists’ brand of radical Islam or join a military mission. Image from entry, with caption: Sailors prepare to launch aircraft from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) on Sept. 13 in the Arabian Gulf

When Doves Cry: Why would we trust U.S. intelligence about anything, including the lack of an ISIS threat? - Ron Fournier, "What is the enduring lesson of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, when the Bush administration overestimated and, in some cases, exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein? Some say it's to be skeptical of government officials who are making the case for war. I say the legacy should be skepticism toward government officials, period – all of them. Their hidden agendas can shade the case for peace as well as war, which might explain why there's no consensus among so-called experts about the threat posed today by ISIS. ... Some people understandably assume that the U.S. government, aided by a compliant media, is overselling the threat. ... According to this school of thought, evidence of a successful propaganda campaign lies in polls showing that 90 percent of Americans consider ISIS a serious threat. In other words, the American people are lemmings. How arrogant. My fight is with the small number of people – hawks and doves alike – who've already hardened their views on the nature of the ISIS threat and the best way to confront it, and who cherrypick officials' assessments to support their biases."

What ISIS Is Trying to Achieve With Their Slick Videos - James Phillips, ISIS aims to horrify Americans to discourage increased U.S. military involvement in combating the Islamic State. But there also was another target audience: supporters and potential recruits for that terrorist movement. The slickly-packaged jihadist propaganda seeks to stimulate and galvanize members of the movement, spur potential recruits to join in the carnage and incite additional terrorist attacks against the United States.

Obama's anti-IS strategy: Difficult Task in Challenging Region - James Reinl, America’s 154 airstrikes so far have struck mostly IS sitting ducks in wide-open Iraqi deserts. That will change when the targets are command centers and bases in IS-run cities of Iraq and Syria, and we see military mishits like those that dent US credibility in Afghanistan. The IS, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, has a slick public relations division. You Tube videos of dead children being pulled from burning schools in Raqqa would be potent propaganda tools for extremists. It will look like Hamas holding out against Israel.

Beheading Shows Just How Bad U.S. Intelligence Has Become - Michael Rubin, Neither the United States nor United Kingdom has much of an idea about where its citizens are being held hostage. Given the importance to ISIS of its propaganda campaign, this means in turn that the United States and United Kingdom likely have little to no idea about where high-value ISIS targets are.

I’m Not Afraid of ISIS - Chris Ernesto, "I live down the street from the US Capitol. If ISIS struck in the belly of the beast, my family and I would likely be negatively impacted. But I’ve never lost a minute of sleep worrying about it, and I never will. Not because I’m 'tough' but because I’m not a pawn of the government controlled media that misleads Americans into accepting Obama’s propaganda to 'scare' us into more war."

US Will Use “ISIS Airstrikes” in Syria as Aircover for Rebels, Hit Syrian Military Targets - Patrick Henningsen, We’ve been observing US airstrikes overseas for a few decades now, long enough to understand

the reality beyond Pentagon propaganda. Not to be naive, expect that the US will certainly use any air strikes in Syria to offer real time air intel to the rebels, provide air cover, and create much-needed corridors for the FSA Syrian rebels. Image from entry

Tactic of terror: What’s behind the gruesome strategy of the Islamic State? - "Another video portraying the beheading of a foreign hostage was released Saturday by the Islamic State. What's behind this gruesome strategy? Tom Sanderson from the Center for Strategic and International Studies joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the issue. ... TOM SANDERSON:... At this point in the current state of the battle, the U.S. can hit ISIS with impunity: we’ll have drones in the battle, we have aircraft now — we don’t need boots on the ground — so ISIS can’t hit back and bleed us, but they can through our civilians, through the reporters, through NGO workers, humanitarian workers or whatever. So this to them levels the plain field to some degree. It’s also about revenge, clearly — the orange Gitmo jumpsuit is about hitting back, and it’s very difficult to strike the U.S., so this gives them that opportunity to satisfy that need of actually inflicting the pain on the West. ... That brings me to ... the recruitment element, the propaganda tool. And this is very satisfying for young men who come from countries where they are marginalized, where they are subject to harsh treatment, where they feel denuded and impotent. And this gives them a sense of power that they are probably never had before."

he American who coordinates the Islamic State’s online propaganda efforts... - The American who coordinates the Islamic State’s online propaganda efforts was caught on tape by the FBI in 2006 plotting “peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches” from “culinary school” — code for terrorist attacks and training camps.

ISIS may have 24 western hostages including Britons and even jihadists who changed their minds - Steve White, The videos of the decapitated David Haines, James Foley and Steven Sotloff are unlikely to show their actual murders, but have instead been released as “propaganda,” it has been claimed.

‘Act of Pure Evil’: ISIS Video Depicts Beheading of British Hostage - Ken McIntyre, Steven Bucci, director of Heritage’s Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy, addressed the propaganda motives of this latest ISIS murder of a hostage, which follows the beheadings in recent weeks of two U.S. journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff. “This is unlikely to drive a wedge between the U.S. and our strongest ally, the UK,” Bucci said. “It is obvious that ISIS does not remember other attempts to intimidate the British people — Hitler and the terror bombing of London, for example.”

UK Muslims 'need to do more to stop fanatics' [scroll down ink for item]: Signatories to a letter to David Cameron from a coalition of organisations and imams admit that UK Muslims need to do more to dissuade their young men from being misled into taking part in the extremist group rampaging through Syria and Iraq's "hatred and poison. Sughra Ahmed, president of the Islamic Society of Britain, told the Observer: "These extremists aren't us. This isn't the Islam that we recognise. But we need to do more than just say 'not in our name, not for our faith'. We need to work together and make sure that these fanatics don't get the propaganda that they feed off."

Father of Australian Islamic State fighter warns parents to be vigilant about extremist behaviour - Allan Clarke and Mohamed Taha, Thousands of people attended the community barbecue, Muslims Love Australia, in Lakemba in Sydney's south-west on Sunday. Event organiser Jamal Rifi said the gathering was organised to quell the pressure the local Muslim community was feeling, by inviting the wider community to break down misconceptions over food. 'We have different faiths, colours and races all here to enjoy an Australian barbecue,' Dr Rifi said.

Dr Rifi said many young Australians were being drawn into the conflict by IS propaganda on social media. 'My message to our young people is 'Imam YouTube' and 'Shaykh YouTube' want your head,' he said. 'They are attacking you to attract to a war that is non-Islamic. What they are doing is barbaric — it has nothing to do with Islam." Image from entry, with caption: Muslims Love Australia organiser Jamal Rifi (centre) with Immigration Minister Scott Morrison at the event.

Say ‘no’ to war and media propaganda - AGB/HRJ. "[The] decision by the United States/NATO to create a high readiness force with the alleged purpose of countering an alleged Russian threat reminds me of the war propaganda of lies, half-truths, insinuations and rumors to which we were all subjected in order to try to soften us all up for the Iraq war and subsequent horrific wars of terror which were carried out by NATO allied forces."

Russian TV Softens Rhetoric on Ukraine - The Moscow Times: Russian television news broadcasts have softened their rhetoric with reference to Ukraine in recent weeks, having shied away from referring to the Ukrainian authorities in Kiev as a "junta," according to Medialogia research company.

In fact, the term "junta" has not been mentioned in this context since Sept. 4. Ekho Moskvy radio's deputy editor Vladimir Varfolomeyev posted a graph on Sunday, compiled by Medialogia, illustrating a drastic change in Ukraine rhetoric on the government-leaning television channels, some of which have faced accusations in the past of having disseminated propaganda. Image from entry, with caption: Most Russian television channels began to refer to the Ukrainian central government in Kiev as a junta after former President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in February.

N.K. calls on Seoul to stop propaganda leaflets - North Korea on Saturday denounced South Korea’s recent proposal to hold high-level talks, saying that Seoul should first stop all anti-Pyongyang hostile activities, including floating propaganda leaflets into its territory, before making such a “deceptive” offer.

Wartime film idol, propaganda tool Rikoran dies at 94 - Film idol Yoshiko Yamaguchi, who was known as Rikoran and symbolized Japan’s dreams of Asian conquest, has died at the age of 94. Known as Shirley Yamaguchi in the United States and one of the biggest Japanese film stars during and after World War II, Yamaguchi died of heart failure Sept. 7, according to NHK.

Born to Japanese parents in northern China in 1920 and raised in Japan’s wartime puppet state of Manchukuo, Yamaguchi was adopted by a Chinese friend of her father and was renamed “Xianglan,” or “Fragrant Orchid,” when she was 13. She debuted as a Chinese singer Li Xianglan — Rikoran in Japanese — and starred in Chinese-language films made by the Japanese-run Manchurian Cinema Association, many of them propaganda movies. Uncaptioned image from entry

Hitler's final moments uncovered and how the Daily Express reported his death 69 years ago - Dominic Midgley, Whenthe Daily Express reported the death of Adolf Hitler, it refused to dignify his passing with a picture on its front page and in a box entitled "Obituary" said: "The Daily Express rejoices to announce the report of Adolf Hitler's death. The front page dated May 2, 1945 - two days after what is now acknowledged to be the day of Hitler's death - reports that the Hamburg radio station that broadcast the announcement spent one and a half hours telling its listeners to stand by for grave news and played a piece by Hitler's favourite composer Wagner, Twilight Of The Gods, part four of the Ring Cycle known in German as Gotterdammerung.

When it came to the detail of the announcement the Nazi propaganda machine exhibited its customary mendacity: "Adolf Hitler has fallen this afternoon in his command post in the Reich Chancery fighting to his last breath for Germany against Bolshevism." One element of the Daily Express's coverage offers a revealing insight into the propaganda tricks employed by both sides - the Allies as well as the Nazis. It notes that Hitler was born with the surname Shickelgruber. This is now believed to have been the work of psychological warfare experts keen to belittle the Fuhrer using all means possible, including by attributing to him a name that sounds slightly ridiculous to British ears. In fact, while Hitler's father had been born out of wedlock to a woman called Shickelgruber (or Schicklgruber), his paternal grandparents later married and the Nazi leader's father legally changed his name to Hitler 12 years before his son Adolf was born. Image from entry


Athens 2004 Summer Olympics Main Fountain Entrance

From: 30 Haunting Photos Of Abandoned Olympic Stadiums. It's Scary To Think Sochi May Be Next...; via MV on Facebook

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