Sunday, February 28, 2010

Questioning US $50M for "Friendly Media" in Pakistan

First I read this letter to editor "Drone Attacks and the Law" in Dawn dot com


And then I saw this and wondered if this hinted at articles to come similar to the letter to the editor above? I wonder how much of this paying off media may already be going out to readers and viewers?


Note that US authorities want to get away with activity many call propaganda in Pakistan whereas in our own USA, this would be considered illegal. Of course these rulings against media propaganda via US gov. have been ignored during the last administration - yet instead of following the rule of law, under this new administration, our leaders want to merely outsource it...finding loopholes once more...

See a brief commentary below the report...
Obama plan: $50M for friendly media in Pakistan

By Gavin Dahl

Sunday, February 28th, 2010 -- 2:07 pm Raw Story dot com

New US-sponsored Pakistani media will raise awareness and build a brand for America, according to sources in the international press.

The Obama administration is set to spend $50 million on media in Pakistan.

The goal is to raise awareness of projects aimed at reversing anti-American sentiments.

The US Special Representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke believes that a substantial amount of monies spent on media, especially private TV channels, will reduce tension and may even bring Pakistan-US relations back on the right path, according to Examiner dot com.

The Obama administration sent lawmakers this week a plan for $1.45 billion in aid for Pakistan this year, funding water, energy and other projects as well as a media campaign to counter extremist views, according to Reuters.

"This effort will reduce the ability of al Qaeda and other extremists to influence public perceptions and attitudes and support Pakistan's people and government as they establish a more secure, prosperous and lasting state," the report said.

Military spending, more than $10 billion over the past nine years, has not been effective at building better relations with Islamabad so under Obama the focus will shift to infrastructure, and apparently propaganda.

As RAWSTORY has extensively investigated, Obama's predecessor oversaw massive propaganda campaigns targeted at US citizens.

According to PR Watch, those programs were illegal under US law:

The Pentagon military analyst program unveiled in last week's exposé by David Barstow in the New York Times was not just unethical but illegal. It violates, for starters, specific restrictions that Congress has been placing in its annual appropriation bills every year since 1951. According to those restrictions, "No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by the Congress."

The Obama administration plans to help Pakistan’s democratic government meet budget shortfalls and deliver services to a population increasingly angry about economic and security troubles. US law allows public money to be spent by the federal government on foreign propaganda.


The Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge in Japan, world's longest span.


Of course, while many in US and Pakistan are having difficulty respecting some of Holbrooke's comments and actions, many may agree with this part of his comment as stated above: (The effort to reduce tension) to "bring Pakistan-US relations back on the right path". However, when does buying favor ultimately lead to the good? When do a people who are fooled continue to respect those who fool them?

Wouldn't earning respect and seeking common ground minus violence and manipulation be a better way?

Why do we in the US or in Pakistan need to choose between Holbrooke's team and agenda of more drones, Xe - Blackwater type groups and the Taliban's extremism? Both groups showing similar common denominators of surprise attacks which injure civilians or worse, leave them dead - as well as destruction of long-standing buildings and even historical monuments which will never again be rebuilt as the same?

Why do we, instead, all too often follow only the preachers of separatism - who still only seem to know the destructive principles of "divide and conquer" and who only work with the other across the world as long as this suits self-interest? How can we break these vicious cycles and patterns?

Why can't we find another, third way toward resolution - one which may have a better chance of leading the way to peace for us all?

How might we - the people of the US and of Pakistan - seek out the efforts toward goodwill in each our histories? Why not research each our honorable ancestors and visionaries at home and in one another's nations - our mentors and those whom set an example for a better path? IF we look every day, we will find many people and groups which set some fine values into play hoping they would reach us today.

Why don't we seek and find our similarities (and there are many examples that are parallels of our religious histories from the most fundamentalist to the most liberal and even secular. What about the way in both nations, education of our young and family values have often been key to both places and cultures? Look at the way we now have so much in common to discuss? H

How about the way we often love one another's foods, music, literature, theatre, cinema, landscapes, cities, taste in fashion and good looks and our ways of life?...Whether we find similarities in places or whether or not we are fascinated by what seems rather exotic, when up close, we do find things we like and marvel about with one another, no?

Then there have been in each of our histories events when the rule of law reigned in our more destructive elements. Why don't we HIGHLIGHT these as examples for our citizens today?

Perhaps keeping some of these examples in mind and creating many more will give us courage on both sides of the world to stand up against the baser elements among us which seek to destroy these little fragments toward reconciliation. We can then be larger together than any warring - violent and extremist group (whether of the government or another armed group) and thus to find, create and offer a completely new alternative and agenda to each our own nation as well as to one another.

This, of course, will take deliberate effort to break our patterns of negativity and only the familiar. Yet in the long-run, the up and coming generations in your country and in ours will have something of integrity to follow.

END article and commentary

A few people and sites to get us started with this adventure of connection --
Surely how much better than propaganda money for media, the following examples of literature and a literary while contemporary site - like the following examples below?

A writer, a farmer who bridges both worlds:

I just found out this author mentioned just above is to be rewarded in NYC tomorrow, Wednesday, March 3, 2010! So look for another post about this event and tell all your friends who happen to live in NYC.

Here's my favorite "bridge" between our two nations: The Republic of Rumi Website here


Khurram Ali Shafique said...

"Destiny of nations depends on such bold dervishes who do not seek the doorsteps of kings." IQBAL in dramatic monologues of a tribal person from FATA in ZARB-I-KALEEM

"I can assure Your Excellency that after having emerged from an eclipse which lasted over a century and a half, the people of Pakistan desire nothing which is not their own, nothing more than the goodwill and friendship of all the free nations of the world. We in Pakistan are determined that having won our long-lost freedom we will work to the utmost limit of our capacity not only to build up a strong and happy State of our own but to contribute in the fullest possible measure to international peace and prosperity." JINNAH, the founder of Pakistan, in reply to American Ambassador's generous offer for financial help to Pakistan

Connie L. Nash said...

These two quotes say better than any of us "westerners" could ever say about the dignity of the nations and who will help them (from within) most to survive and flourish.

Yes, goodwill and friendship should be our guiding motto...

May your nation - your people - stay bold and grow ever stronger in such life principles.

And may our nation go back in history, take a good clear look, and stop repeating the same mistakes and sins -- let alone worse ones.

May we together - people caring about people - find some way to bridge the terrible brokenness we have helped to cause and with divine help and untainted empathy -- find a way on both sides of the world to help mend the bridge which is almost destroyed by the "doorsteps of (our) kings"...