China's 'Charm Offensive'

Entering the race to win hearts and minds, China has begun an image campaign to bolster its global economic and political ambitions. "Beijing has already opened 27 branches of the Confucius Institute around the world in less than a year, and it has a budget of $200-million (U.S.) annually to teach Chinese to foreigners," Canada's Globe and Mail reports. As part of China's "charm offensive" led by President Hu Jintao, the effort includes plans for 70 more culture and language centers in the next five years.


Propaganda, Treason and Plot

"After the London bombings," reports Bob Chaundy, the British government "is looking at whether so-called 'preachers of hate' can be charged with treason. The last person to be executed for high treason, nearly 60 years ago, was the infamous Nazi propagandist Lord Haw-Haw." Chaundy profiles Lord Haw-Haw (real name William Joyce), whose program, "Germany Calling," was listened to by "an estimated third of the British nation during World War II.


PR Meets Psy-Ops in War on Terror

A U.S. military spokesman deliberately misled CNN as part of "an elaborate psychological operation - or 'psy-op' - intended to dupe insurgents in Fallouja," the Los Angeles Times reports. Hoping to prompt a reaction from guerrillas, the Marines told CNN on Oct. 14 that "Troops crossed the line of departure," indicating the start of the Fallouja offensive. In reality, the offensive did not begin until three weeks later. "Officials at the Pentagon and other U.S.


Extreme Internships in Iraq

The Washington, DC-based Iraqex, "the company that inked a three-year, multi-million dollar deal to handle PR for coalition forces in Iraq," is asking interns to take the "PR challenge of the decade." Iraqex is offering 2- to 3-month internships in Iraq, for U.S. citizens with college degrees.


Hurrah for Alhurrah

Alhurrah, the U.S.-funded Arabic-language TV channel, offers a more pro-U.S. version of the news than other Arabic channels but is having a hard time reaching many viewers because of the perception that it is American propaganda. Mouafac Harb, Alhurra's news director bristles at this claim. But as U.S. Rep. José E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) said at a hearing in April, that's exactly why Congress is funding it.


How Conspiracy Theories Took Us To War

Peter Bergen, a professor of international studies and author of a recent book about Osama Bin Laden, takes a look at Laurie Mylroie of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), whose theory that Iraq was behind Al Qaeda exerted strong influence on the Bush administration's decision for war. "She is a conspiracy theorist whose political conceits have consistently been proved wrong," Bergen says.



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