Two Headlines to Note (Update: +1 headline)

China Inspired Interrogations at Guantánamo in the New York Times, by Scott Shane

The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”

What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.

Foreign outreach called deficient: Panel urges more training in the Washington Times, by Nicholas Kralev

Each U.S. embassy has a public-affairs officer who is in charge of a large section with both American and foreign employees.

There are usually at least two more Foreign Service officers. The so-called information officer, or spokesman, follows local media and responds to press inquiries. The cultural-affairs officer manages various outreach programs.

None of those officials, however, is engaged in the public aspect of public diplomacy full time, said the bipartisan commission’s report, which was published last week.

"This is the first report to point out that there is no one overseas whose primary job responsibility is to interface with foreign audiences," said Matt Armstrong, an analyst who writes a blog on public diplomacy at

Ok, so that headline is a bit of self-promotion… but isn’t that what public diplomacy is about? 😉

15 Hostages Held by Colombian Rebels Are Rescued in the New York Times, by Simon Romero

Colombian commandos disguised as rebels spirited 15 hostages to freedom on Wednesday, including Ingrid Betancourt, a French-Colombian politician held for six years, and three American military contractors, according to the hostages and the Colombian authorities.

See also: PMC "Hostages" in Colombia (16 Jan 2006)