"Dante wrote in his treatise on language that though men and women must communicate with words, angels can talk to one another in silence."

--Bard Professor Joseph Luzzi; Dante image from


The State Department Is Fighting With ISIL on Twitter - Rebecca Carroll, defenseone.com: "The State Department is expanding a program to counter al-Qaida and other extremist groups using Twitter, YouTube and other digital media, the agency announced this week. The English-language Think Again Turn Away campaign is run by the Center for Strategic Counter Terrorism Communications’ digital outreach team. The English-language effort uses Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube accounts to promote U.S. and international perspectives on topics such as the motives of the brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which has taken control of large portions of Iraq and has a strong social media presence of its own. The Think Again Turn Away Twitter account engages with individual Twitter users, linking to its own picture and video archives or to outside articles from respected news outlets. Frequent themes include ISIS’ targeting of Muslims and civilians in general. The department has awarded a $575,046 contract to JTG, Inc. of Vienna, Virginia, to continue and expand the English-language initiative that launched late last year without additional money or personnel. The digital media team also works in Arabic, Urdu, Somali and Punjabi.  Under the new 6-month contract, JTG employees will research and analyze extremist websites and 'conduct focus group[s] or other relevant pretesting of product concepts and pilot products in order to ensure resonance with the target audience' — namely, English speakers, including Westerners, who are digitally engaged with extremists and potential targets of recruitment efforts. CSCC says the program is not intended to target Americans.

'CSCC will now be working aggressively to identify various ways to measure effectiveness across all languages, formats and platforms, including but not limited to, focus groups,' the center’s leader Ambassador Alberto Fernandez said in an emailed statement to Nextgov. ... The expansion includes several contract positions; analytics, research and other tools; software and hardware; travel; and various other items. Fernandez said it’s not unusual to contract out this type of work, as the center’s foreign language digital media programs have also been doing. 'In digital counterterrorism communications, we often need to be able to move from language to language and environment to environment to keep pace with events and our adversaries,' Fernandez said. 'In practical terms, this means that we frequently need to look for new people with new skills. The best mechanism for doing this is to contract out the work.'" Image from entry, with caption: Here’s a [part of a] sample #ThinkAgainTurnAway Twitter exchange

Africa needs to better track, manage, report funds - Dibya Sarkar, fiercehomelandsecurity.com: "The primary U.S. counterterrorism program in northwest Africa – where terrorist groups including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Boko Haram operate – has spent about $140 million since 2009, but program managers were unable to easily provide data on the status of the funds, a congressional investigation has found. A Government Accountability Office report (pdf) released June 24 said that nearly half of the $288 million earmarked for the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, or TSCTP, between fiscal 2009 to 2013, has been spent. Yet, managers 'do not routinely collect and assess data on the status of funds for

TSCTP activities, such as the amounts of funds unobligated or disbursed – key data that could help inform their management of the program,' the report said. In a recent survey on Federal IT Reform, Senior government IT executives laid out their vision for the coming year, detailing challenges and identifying priorities. To read more about these timely results click here to download the summary today. GAO said the process to provide the information presented in the report took several months, which government officials said was very labor-intensive. The State Department-led TSCTP program – which also involves the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Defense Department – is designed to strengthen the counterterrorism capabilities and other relevant activities in 11 countries in northwest Africa, GAO said. Program activities include public diplomacy, counterterrorism and law enforcement training, criminal justice reforms, support for youth employment, better access to education and local governance improvement."

IG: State Department bureau needs to develop IT strategy, manage networks more efficiently - Dibya Sarkar, fiercegovernmentit.com: "A bureau that promotes the State Department's policy-advocacy work through videos, social media, interactive web chats and other means still has not established an IT strategy that matches up with business needs, an investigation has found. The State Department's inspector general issued a follow-up report (pdf) in June to an inspection done in 2013 at the Bureau of International Information Programs, or IIP. In the new report, the IG found that the bureau has complied with 59 of 80 formal recommendations made in the prior report regarding a wide range of issues. For example, the IIP has implemented several technology-related recommendations, the new report noted, such as a new standard operating procedure for cyber-incident handling for externally hosted systems and a new project plan that addresses the goals, business case, risks, security and annual operating costs of a cloud-based software service. Knowing which programs your agency should support doesn't have to be a guessing game. While the bureau has also improved technology operations, the IG report said IIP still didn't implement a recommendation for a bureau-wide IT strategy. 'The plan would allow

IIP to better align technology solutions to its business needs, while specifically addressing privacy concerns and electronic information accessibility for people with disabilities,' the report noted. In October 2013, the bureau told the IG's office that it had begun assessing IT initiatives and it would move forward with a strategy, but the new report said such a plan 'has not moved beyond the discussion stage.' The report also said that IIP uses dedicated Internet networks for software development, video production, web engagement with worldwide audiences, and other services that can't be provided on the State Department's unclassified network. Through a joint executive office with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, IIP manages more than 114 workstations and 20 servers on 14 dedicated Internet networks to support the work, the report said. However, with an increase in dedicated networks, IIP is shouldering the responsibility for providing network infrastructure support, which is really the responsibility under the Bureau of Information Resource Management, or IRM. The IG report said this is a duplication of efforts and inefficient use of IT and network security resources. Like in the prior report, the IG recommended that IIP and IRM perform an IT network infrastructure needs analysis for public diplomacy work and implement the results." Image from

Social Media Workshop at the American Center - Nandasiri Wanninayaka, wanni.wordpress.com: "Last Monday I attended a social media workshop at the American Center. The instructor was a guy called Prasad Perera. He covered Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and digital storytelling. It was a very effective workshop. I learnt a lot there. Usually majority of the social media users use only the very basic features of the social media tools.

But if you attend this workshop you can learn a lot more than what you already know. They have a basic, intermediate and advanced level workshops. You can contact the American Center for more details. Public Diplomacy Office of the American Embassy 44, Galle Road, Colombo 3 Sri Lanka." Image from entry, with caption: Prasad Perera doing the workshop

Officials Decry Lack of Funding, Attention on Diplomacy to Resolve Conflicts - Christina Munnell, nationaldefensemagazine.org: "The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development don’t receive enough funding, or the respect from the American public, when it comes to their roles in preventing international conflict, officials from the agencies said June 24. 'Foreign affairs investment is about 1 percent of the federal budget . . . people think it’s a much higher investment,' Heather Higginbottom, deputy secretary of State for management and resources, said at an American Security Project panel discussion on Capitol Hill. The remarks came ahead of the second Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which evaluates the organizational structures of the State Department and USAID. The review examines how the agencies can act more efficiently in budget management and strategic planning to enhance U.S. involvement in foreign affairs. While one of the main goals of the QDDR is to prevent international conflict and friction, Higginbottom said tight budgets often impede this mission. Limited funds hinder the agencies’ ability to improve current technology and communication systems, making it difficult for the U.S. to remain a global competitor. 'One of the barriers we face to being very successful in this has to do with data and technology and systems. We have to update,' she said. The first QDDR, introduced in 2010 by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, similarly focused on neutralizing conflicts before they became violent.

It emphasized the importance of 'civilian power,' and the role of defense agencies, in promoting public diplomacy and security. Work continues on producing the 2014 QDDR, which is expected to be released by the end of the year, according to the American Security Project website. Agencies are looking for more engagement in foreign affairs issues on the part of the public. Strong public involvement is what keeps the United States safe, said Thomas Perriello, who was appointed special representative for the QDDR by Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year. Speakers were asked how the agencies would 'sell diplomacy' to the American public to spark citizens’ involvement. Perriello said promoting diplomacy wasn’t as easy as promoting military involvement, but he hoped citizens recognized how critical their participation was to national security. ... The panel addressed the problem of declining budgets. 'How are we going to pay for all of this stuff?' Alexander Their, assistant administrator for policy, planning, and learning at USAID, asked. The U.S. government 'just a generation ago paid for most of our development — 80 percent by some counts. Today that figure is only 10 percent,' he said. ... Heavy contributions from the private sector have given the United States greater capacity for international development and security, Their said. Still, budget restrictions and Americans’ disregard of global affairs have obstructed the State Department and USAID from becoming an influential player overseas, and from spreading public diplomacy and safety, Their said. The success of the QDDR in promoting public diplomacy ultimately depends on the agencies’ ability to gain support from the public. 'We can’t do this without it being a partnership between the Hill and the executive branch,' he said. Image from

Ajami in the Arabic press - As'ad AbuKhalil, The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب: "[T]his is typical in the US: they always assume that their chosen Arabs are popular Arabs, with US armies invading.  You know that Paul Wolfowitz predicted that Kenaan Makiyya would become president of Iraq--I kid you not. ... If Ahmad Chalabi had to ride on the coattails of Muqtada As-Sadr to win a seat in parliament, the rest is too predictable.  Yet, the Bush administration was lobbied by Zionists to appoint Ajami as its assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy to improve relations with the Arab world. I am not making this up." On Ajami, see.

Only way to save U.S. international broadcasting is complete reform - Helle Dale, Washington Times: "Revolution’s in the air at the agency that oversees the U.S. government’s broadcasting to the world. Directors are in high dudgeon, and staff have threatened a mass walkout. The reason: Congress has finally had enough with the mismanagement of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and is moving reform legislation. Some profess outrage that Congress would dare ‘interfere.’ ‘Back Off, Congress, And Keep Voice of America Real’ blared a Los Angeles Times commentary by a VOA foreign correspondent. A Washington Post editorial fumed that H.R. 4490, the United States International Communications Reform Act moving through the House, ‘would take a dangerous step toward converting the most venerable and listened-to U.S. outlet, Voice of America, into another official mouthpiece.’ The ‘mouthpiece’ concern seems terribly overwrought. The bill states repeatedly that Voice of America will continue to ‘provide accurate, objective, comprehensive information with the understanding that these three values provide credibility among global news audiences.’ … Bipartisan, bicameral legislation is practically unheard of these days, but broadcasting reform enjoys overwhelming bipartisan support. The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved H.R. 4490 unanimously on April 30. The bill now awaits action by the full House, and a nearly identical bill is close to completion in the Senate. Sponsored by Rep. Edward R. Royce, California Republican, H.R. 4490 calls for a ‘recalibration’ of VOA’s mission. It requires VOA to produce news that is ‘consistent with and promotes the broad foreign policies of the United States,’ thus giving VOA ‘greater mission focus.' It includes much-needed management reform too. The governors are part-timers, attempting to do the full-time job of running multiple international broadcast services. The legislation would establish a full-time, day-to-day chief executive officer. And it separates the missions and management of the two distinct types of broadcasting done by the U.S. government — Voice of America on the one hand and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Network on the other.

The latter would be consolidated into the Liberty News Network ‘grantee organization.’ Operating privately with grants from the U.S. government, these broadcasters would provide uncensored local news and information to people in closed societies who have no access to independent news. The House bill is good; the Senate version could be better. For example, H.R. 4490 calls for the board to be responsible for the hiring and firing of the chief executive officer — power that certainly exceeds that of an ‘advisory’ body. The Senate bill could improve that by making the CEO a presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate. Another item ripe for improvement: The Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB) remains a federal broadcaster, along with Voice of America. The OCB’s mission is closer to that of the ‘liberty radios.’ Making it part of the ‘Liberty News Network’ could give Cuba broadcasting a boost and more independence. The Congressional reform effort is not about producing government propaganda. VOA will not become like Russia’s RT or China’s CCTV for the good reason that the United States is not Russia or China. Reform is needed, however, to communicate America’s message of freedom more effectively throughout the world.” Via GG on Facebook. Image from

Letter: Propaganda tool - Gary J. Bjorge, Lawrence, ljworld.com: "I sincerely hope that Chancellor Gray-Little and the other members of her Kansas University administration who have consistently denied the true nature of KU’s Confucius Institute have read the statement issued recently by the American Association of University Professors calling upon American universities to either shut down their Confucius Institutes or drastically revise the contracts they have signed with the Chinese government to operate them. The AAUP noted that 'Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state' and that most partnership agreements signed by American universities with the Chinese government 'feature nondisclosure clauses and unacceptable concessions to the political aims and practices of the government of China.'

A New York Times article described the AAUP statement as basically an echo of sentiments expressed by a distinguished professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Chicago: 'Prominent Confucius Institute hosts should take the lead in reversing course, stressing that the issues involved are larger than their own particular interests. By hosting a Confucius Institute, they have become engaged in the political and propaganda efforts of a foreign government in a way that contradicts the values of free inquiry and human welfare to which they are otherwise committed.' KU is a prominent Confucius Institute host. Its Confucius Institute was one of the first established and a photograph taken at the dedication ceremony introduced the New York Times article referred to above. So, Chancellor Gray-Little, are you ready to reverse course? Or do you want to have KU continue to serve the political and propaganda efforts of the Chinese state?" Image from

LINKS Director addresses European security issues in keynote speech at NATO PA Baku Seminar - "LINKS Executive Director, Dennis Sammut was the keynote speaker at the 86th Rose-Roth Seminar organised by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in the Azerbaijani capital Baku from 16-18 June 2014. ... Dennis Sammut said, ... Many in the West, as well as in Russia have tried to describe the current stand-off between Russia and the west as a second cold war. ... Comparisons with the cold war are inaccurate and can be dangerously misleading, for the antidote to the present crisis is not in using cold war tactics, but rather in the clever deployment of a mix of diplomacy, economic muscle, public diplomacy and media and social media."

Summer School ‘The Balkans Success Story – Maintaining Regional Security and Enhancing Stability - oley.az: "Summer School ‘The Balkans Success Story – Maintaining Regional Security and Enhancing Stability’ is organised by the Atlantic Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in partnership

with NATO Public Diplomacy Division and with the assistance of Atlantic Treaty Association." Image from

No matter what Putin says — Russian people have no appetite for war - Matthew Rojansky and Kenneth Yalowitz, blogs.reuters.com: "For now, the West would be well advised to keep doors of communication open to Russians. The most effective means

is to keep cooperative efforts and exchanges alive in science, culture and education. Public diplomacy outreach needs to be increased but conducted with sensitivity to Russians’ distinct narrative." Image from entry

Comment: New Colombo Plan can change how we see Asia - David Lowe, sbs.com.au: "In announcing Australia’s ‘new aid paradigm’ at the National Press Club recently, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop topped and tailed her speech with the Colombo Plan. Bishop began by recalling the thousands of Asian students who were sponsored to study in Australia under the Colombo Plan for aid to south and southeast Asia, commencing in 1951. She concluded with reference to a new 'signature policy in foreign affairs' that is the government’s New Colombo Plan, which provides support for Australian students to study and undertake internships in a partner Asian country. … The Colombo Plans, old and new, generate wonderful human-interest material as students experience new lands and learning. And they are ready-made vehicles for the ‘humanising’ of foreign policy objectives, such as cultivating friends and two-way understanding of Australia and our region – public diplomacy in modern parlance. … But there were limits to what could be achieved in the name of the Colombo Plan.

Some of the publicity around Australian efforts stalled when it was not translated into local languages, and it was hard to maintain a profile in countries such as India, where the numbers spending time in Australia represented a miniscule fraction of the population. As mentioned, it was also very hard to keep track of where Colombo Plan alumni ended up. Those who had positive experiences in Australia were invariably those who proved easiest to track down later, but their number didn’t account for anything like the full complement. … The aim of fostering interest in the region and replacing the largely one-way flow of Asian students to Australia with a two-way flow is widely welcomed. The first tranche of funding under the New Colombo Plan started in February, and 24 Australian universities sent more than 300 students to Asia for study, language training and internships. … The New Colombo Plan has the potential to help shift us from seeing Asia primarily through the eyes of tourists and exporters. It might enable us to draw more on the experiences of the roughly half a million Australians who already live and work in the region. We also need our new New Colombo Plan scholars to be great listeners and learners – qualities not necessarily instilled if, as has sometimes been the case this year, their overseas ventures are very short-term. Good listening is an essential quality of public diplomacy initiatives." Image from entry, with caption: Governments hope cultural exchanges create people-to-people links between nations

Crying Wolf Is Finally Catching Up With Israel: The world is sick of Israel and its insanities. Israel is discovering that it’s no longer the center of attention as it always was before - Gideon Levy, desertpeace.wordpress.com: "What a cruel world: Three yeshiva students were kidnapped, and the world isn’t interested; three mothers are crying out, and the world doesn’t answer. It’s all because the entire world is against us; it’s anti-Semitic and hates Israel. ... It takes considerable effrontery to demand that the world interests itself in the fate of three abducted Israelis, and considerable chutzpah to be disappointed by the fact that it has kept silent. Granted, Israel tried to move heaven and earth, and its ambassador/propagandist at the UN gave a moving speech in an effort to scrape up a few more public diplomacy points against Hamas.

But once it was paying attention already, that bizarre world was more interested in the campaign of collective punishment imposed on thousands of West Bank residents after the kidnapping." Image from entry, with caption: Rachel Fraenkel, mother of abducted Israeli teen Naftali, addresses the UNHRC on June 24, 2014. But does the world care?

AU council approves Egypt's return from suspension - worldbulletin.net/news: "The African Union (A.U.) Peace and Security Council at the level of heads of state on Wednesday endorsed the resumption of Egypt's A.U. membership. ... Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn will meet Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, on the sidelines of an African Union (A.U.) summit, an Ethiopian minister said Wednesday. ... He added that a joint ministerial committee from the two countries will convene soon, whereas a public diplomacy delegation from Ethiopia will visit Egypt too.

The Ethiopian minister noted that a public diplomacy delegation from Egypt is also expected to visit Ethiopia. Tension has marred relations between Ethiopia and Egypt in recent years over the construction of an Ethiopian hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile." Image from entry, with caption: Egypt's new President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi arrived in Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday to lead his country's delegation to the A.U. summit, which will kick off in Malabo on Thursday.

Tell a different story: story of two centuries - Vugar Adigozalov, blog.nohatespeechmovement.org: "[A]s a young Liberal Political Leader from Azerbaijan I was one of 6 co-founders of Liberal Youth Network of Caucasus (LYNC) which brings together Liberals from all over Caucasus together. LYNC turned to be an open and strong platform for public diplomacy, sharing thoughts, and unique meeting point for refugee youth to share their stories."

Walk Where She Walked, Touch What She Touched: A Difficult Beginning… - findingpetronella.com: "Today, in an event I have been looking forward to for a while, I had coffee at headquarters of the Dutch Ambassador to Finland. I was both honored that the embassy has taken such an interest ... and slightly disappointed, as the Ambassador got pulled away on 'urgent business' and wasn’t able to join.

Still, we were graciously received by Counsellor Hans Kruishoop and Ilona, the Public Diplomacy Officer. I presented them with some San Francisco Blue Bottle coffee, sugared almonds, and of course – Adventure Pants for the Ambassador. And as luck would have it, I met the Ambassador himself on the stairs as we left!" Uncaptioned image from entry


Let ISIS play out its role in history: Column - David A. Andelman, USA Today: Iraq is at the beginning of the endgame of its existence that began more than a century ago, and there is little the United States can do about it.

Joining the fight, as we seem ever closer to doing, will only ensure we are defeated by the overwhelming forces of history. Image from

Obama’s Weakness, or Ours? - Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: Former Vice President Dick Cheney's complaining about Obama’s foreign policy is a bit like the old definition of chutzpah: killing your parents and then pleading for mercy because you’re an orphan. In the Bush/Cheney years, we lost thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, we became mired in Afghanistan, Iran vastly expanded the number of centrifuges in its nuclear program, and North Korea expanded its arsenal of nuclear weapons. And much of the world came to despise us. Blowing things up is often satisfying, and Obama’s penchant for muddling along instead, with restraint, is hurting him politically. But that’s our weakness more than his. Obama’s foreign policy is far more deft — and less dangerous — than the public thinks, and he doesn’t deserve the harsh assessments. If there’s one thing we should have learned in the Bush/Cheney years, it’s that swagger and invasion are overrated as foreign policy instruments.

The Iraqi Friends We Abandoned - Kirk W. Johnson, New York Times: Bipartisan legislation did create a category of Special Immigrant Visas for Iraqis who had helped us, but bureaucracy strangled their distribution.

Thousands of Iraqis who worked with our troops, diplomats and aid workers remain in limbo, desperate for a visa allowing them to reach safety. The same story is playing out in Afghanistan. Two and a half years since our last troops departed, perhaps 1.5 million Iraqis have been uprooted by new fighting that may shatter Iraq as a nation. Image from; see also.

Iraqi Officials Start Spinning Propaganda as Losses Pile Up - Night Watch,
finance.townhall.com: Iraq: Today, the Ministry of Defense said Iraqi forces have regained control of the al-Walid border crossing with Syria and the Turaibil border crossing with Jordan. The government's claim is not confirmed and appears doubtful. After ten days of fighting, fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) now control the oil refinery at Baiji.

They are reported to have told Sunni tribal leaders in the area to keep it operating and supplying gasoline to ISIL fighters. Comment: Nearly every major town in the Sunni areas of Iraq is no longer responsive to the central government. The window for political reform to have an effect on the security situation has closed for now, in less than two weeks. By the end of the week, ISIL and its Sunni allies should be in a position to begin attacking Baghdad from multiple directions, should they so decide. Uncaptioned image from entry

Losses to ISIS in Iraq Spur U.S. to Rethink Syria: Obama Administration Debates Hitting Sunni Insurgent Strongholds on Either Side of Border; Military Warns of Blowback - Dion Nissenbaum and Julian E. Barnes, Wall Street Journal: One of the biggest risks is the possibility that U.S. airstrikes against Sunni militants could be viewed across the region as an attempt by America to tip the balance of power in favor of Shiite forces. That could imperil U.S. relations with key Middle East power brokers, including Saudi Arabia. President Obama has thus far resisted muscular U.S. military involvement in Syria. He has authorized a limited program to provide some Syrian rebels with antitank missiles and a modest program to train the anti-Assad forces.

ISIS Tries to Tweet Its Enemies Into Submission - Helle Dale, dailysignal.com:

Social media sites are the latest battleground in the war on terror. On June 20, the Sunni terrorist group ISIS, which is on a rampage in northern Syria and Iraq, launched a Twitterstorm under the hashtag #AllEyesOnIsis.

It was aimed to appeal to impressionable Muslim youth, scare ISIS’s enemies on the ground, and intimidate the rest of the world. This is Propaganda 101. By some accounts, ISIS is becoming addicted to Twitter and is even receiving tweets of support with photos of everything from bloody limbs to pink cupcakes with  “ISIS we love you.” Image from entry

Isis steps up propaganda war with online magazine in English [subscription] - Tom Coghlan, Duncan Gardham and Leo Sefi, thetimes.co.uk: Isis is using an English language online magazine to lure recruits to Syria and Iraq by portraying the fighting as a mission to correct injustices from the First World War. The Islamic State Report is a ten-page publication

that tries to justify the group’s actions, gives accounts of battles and has images of killings with tabloid-style captions such as: “Rounded up for the slaughter.” Image from entry, with caption: A plastic Isis doll for sale online

Propaganda Wars: Russian Twitter Account Takes on American “Progress” in Iraq - Kevin Rothrock, globalvoicesonline.org: Someone writing in Russian has issued the latest Internet challenge to the US government, launching a Twitter account named @IraqProgress. The account parodies one of the State Department’s official Twitter accounts, @UkrProgress, which is a Russian-language information feed Washington uses to counter Russian propaganda about events in Ukraine.

Whoever is behind the tweets is clearly implying that the United States observes a double standard when deciding whether to support mass insurgencies. Image from entry , with caption: Obama and Putin beside the ISIS flag and US State Department seal. Images mixed by author.

Use of Drones for Killings Risks a War Without End, Panel Concludes in Report - Mark Mazzetti, New York Times: The Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killings using armed drones risks putting the United States on a “slippery slope” into perpetual war and sets a dangerous precedent for lethal operations that other countries might adopt in the future, according to a report by a bipartisan panel that includes several former senior intelligence and military officials. The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits. The report urges the administration to conduct such an analysis and to give a public accounting of both militants and civilians killed in drone strikes.

Belarusian Authorities Unable To Resist Russian Propaganda - Artyom Shraibman, belarusdigest.com: The informational realm in which most of Belarusians live has never been truly Belarusian. Russian TV channels dominate in Belarus and always have. All of the Russian central federal channels that provide pro-Kremlin news – 1st Channel, "Russia" Channel, NTV and others – broadcast in Belarus. Belarusian state TV news coverage includes such channels as Belarus-1, Belarus-2, CTV and ONT. Though the proportion of Belarusian to Russian would at first glance appear almost equal, in fact TV audiences tend to trust Russian news over its domestic counterparts. Russian channels are much more well funded, look more professional and have historically been less biased, or to put it differently, not as straight-forward propagandistic as Belarusian TV. The latter has changed as of late, but public perception remains the same.

Chinese Documentary on Online Terrorism Links Propaganda Materials to Urumqi Attacks - Frida Palma, chinatopix.com: The Chinese government has linked the propaganda materials designed by East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) to the recent attacks in China, including the violent incidents in Urumqi early this year. China’s State Internet Information Office (SIIO) released a documentary on Tuesday, showing the close relationship between the attacks in the region and the audio and video files published by ETIM.

DeKalb gallery exhibits classic war posters and propaganda - daily-chronicle.com: “Art from the Great Wars,” an exhibition of original art and significant posters

from World War I and World II from the collection of John Wright, will be on display at The Art Box, 308 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, Sunday through July 26. Image from entry

World War I Posters: The Graphic Art of Propaganda - life.time.com: Whether they were urging citizens to enlist in the Army, buy war savings stamps, support the Red Cross or join the war effort for “adventure and action,” the countless recruitment and propaganda posters produced during World War I — in every country engaged in the conflict — were marvels of graphic design. Some were shocking; many were beautiful; virtually all were created with one aim in mind:

to get the viewer to stop, read — and act. Here, on the 100th anniversary of the June 28, 1914, assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria — commonly cited as the action that precipitated WWI, the spark that lit the fuse — LIFE.com presents American posters that are not only aesthetically striking, but also capture the breezy nationalism (often slipping into jingoism) of the era. That the English, French (see below), Germans, Italians and virtually every other nation with soldiers in the fight created their own brand of similar propaganda only reinforces the old adage: in war, the first casualty is the truth. Image from entry

Old "Yellow Peril" Anti-Chinese Propaganda - Gwen Sharp, thesocietypages.org: In the late 1800s, male Chinese immigrants were brought to the U.S. to work on the railroads and as agricultural labor on the West Coast; many also specialized in laundry services. Some came willingly, others were basically kidnapped and brought forcibly. After the transcontinental railroad was completed, it occurred to white Americans that Chinese workers no longer had jobs. They worried that the Chinese might compete with them for work. In response, a wave of anti-Chinese (and, eventually, anti-Japanese) sentiment swept the U.S. Chinese men were stereotyped as degenerate heroin addicts whose presence encouraged prostitution, gambling, and other immoral activities.  A number of cities on the West Coast experienced riots in which Whites attacked Asians and destroyed Chinese sections of town. Riots in Seattle in 1886 resulted in practically the entire Chinese population being rounded up and forcibly sent to San Francisco. Similar situations in other towns encouraged Chinese workers scattered throughout the West to relocate, leading to the growth of Chinatowns in a few larger cities on the West Coast. The anti-Asian movement led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Gentlemen’s Agreement (with Japan) of 1907, both of which severely limited immigration from Asia.  Support was bolstered with propaganda.

Image from entry, with note:

Here is a vintage “Yellow Peril” poster. The white female victim at his feet references the fact that most Chinese in the U.S. were male–women were generally not allowed to immigrate–and this poster poses them as a threat to white women and white men’s entitlement to them

Trews News Vs. Faux Nooze ~ Russell Brand Breaks Down Jihadi Propaganda - In the video (part of thie entry), Russell Brand brilliantly breaks down Faux Nooze jihadi propaganda. He exposes the cartoonish propaganda of old paradigm super hero Justice Judge Jeanine. In reality, Justice Judge Jeanine (dun, dun, dunnn) is actually an extremist super villain in drag. When you exit the matrix, expand your consciousness and pierce the veil of this teleprompter reading fembot’s fancy facade, you’ll see a gun in the background and it will look and sound exactly like those grainy low-budget “jihadi infidel terrorist” videos that US propaganda outlets play to pollute collective consciousness and terrify (terrorize) the American public. All hyperbole aside, as Russell touches on, Fox News is, indeed, much more dangerous than the Iraqi ISIS militants. In fact, the mainstream media is the most effective weapon of mass oppression humanity has ever known. As my old friend Jacques Ellul concluded in his groundbreaking analysis of the social mind, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, “Propaganda is today a greater danger to mankind than any of the other more grandly advertised threats hanging over the human race.”

Freedom Wars’ Propaganda Idols Cover One Of Vocaloid Kagamine Rin’s Songs - Sato, siliconera.com: So we’ve seen the trio of idols in Freedom Wars called the Propaganda Idols, a group of pop stars that use their catchy songs to make sure prisoners don’t get any crazy ideas. It looks like one of the girls from the group recently got her own solo hit.

The above is a look at the Propaganda Idols member Opti and her solo cover of the “Nananana” track, originally by the Vocaloid Kagamine Rin. The track was arranged by Freedom Wars composer Kemmei Adachi, alongside Vocaloid producer Tennen, a.k.a. Oppiroge P. Image from entry

'The Hunger Games' Releases Propaganda Trailer, Posters For 'Mockingjay'  [includes video]-  Erik Kain, Forbes: Advertising in the age of the internet presents its own unique challenges. Unlike pre-social-media days, everything is now under constant scrutiny. In a very real way, advertising has transformed much like media itself, becoming less one-sided and more conversational. The real trick—the Holy Grail, if you will—is for an ad to “go viral.” But that’s often easier said than done. The very nature of virality suggests an accidental fortune—Google's definition of the word: “the tendency of an image, video, or piece of information to be circulated rapidly and widely from one Internet user to another; the quality or fact of being viral.” Marketing professionals continue to struggle with this concept.

While Gangnam Style or Angry Birds seem to go viral almost on their own, overnight, making an ad memorable is another challenge altogether. Going viral on purpose, it turns out, is really hard. The Hunger Games is taking a clever approach to its marketing campaign for Mockingjay: Part 1, the third film in the blockbuster series from Lionsgate (combined box office of over $1.5 billion worldwide for the first two films.) Rather than simply release movie trailers and posters advertising the film, the latest Hunger Games entry is releasing propaganda for the film’s fictional dictatorship, Panem. The latest trailer shows President Snow (Donald Sutherland) dressed all in white standing next to Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) against an all-white background. It’s not an ad for the film directly, but rather a message to all the districts in Panem explaining the benefits of a peaceful relationship with the Capitol—and the risks of rebellion. It’s perfectly creepy. Image from entry


Image from, with caption: The walls surrounding Sunni neighborhoods in Baghdad were built by Americans as protection, but not could serve as traps


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