Diplopundit’s 2009 Words and Phrases to Remember

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DEMINT: New Diplopundit word meaning to block, to hold, as
in “Mr. X’s nomination to be ambassador
to Country Y has been deminted by Senator Z because of senatorial disapproval
over the dear leader’s hairdo.”Or, “I did not have a normal nomination process –
my nomination was deminted for months in the Senate by a guy who disliked my
tie!”

FULL BODY SCAN: New airport screening technology to be deployed
soon at US airports.  Thanks to terrorism
suspect Abdulmutallab who foolishly hid explosives in his underpants, we will all
soon undergo full body scans.  I guess the new perk for the next decade will
soon be the “no full body scan” lane?       
VISAS VIPER: Charming name for a State telegram without any hollow
venom-conducting fangs. Visas Viper report on possible terrorists who are not
current visa applicants for the purpose of watchlisting them. There is also Visas Donkey, and Visas Bear, and
no, you can’t pick your own animal for this.
CIVILIAN UPLIFT: Atrocious new term for the civilian surge
under Afghanistan 2.0. My dictionary defines “uplift” as “a rise of land to a
higher elevation (as in the process of mountain building),” or “a brassiere
that lifts and supports the breasts.” Ooh.
IDLE CURIOSITY: All-time favorite excuse for non-work
activities conducted during office hours especially related but not confined to
passport record snooping. As in “It was
not my fault; idle curiosity made me do it!”  
 
HUMAN RESOURCE INITIATIVE (HRI): New term for diplomatic
hiring that used to be called Diplomacy 3.0, but is now called HRI in
congressional bills. Thank gods! 
HOUSE-ENVY: A serious illness that apparently afflicts a
certain portion of the Foreign Service community overseas; reportedly impacts
morale at some posts from Afghanistan Albania to Zimbabwe (Afghanistan
has apartments and hootches). Don’t panic.
This non-contagious illness only makes an occasional appearance in OIG reports.
  
DEPUTY AMBASSADOR: 
New title under Afghanistan 2.0; everywhere else, US missions still use
the traditional term, DCM for Deputy Chief of Mission to refer to the number #2
person at the embassy. Criteria for using
the “deputy ambassador” title, anyone?   
COLD CASE: James E. Hogan, Foreign Service Officer last seen
in Curacao (a 15% cost of living and a three-year, two R&R diplomatic post and
popular tourist destination where a man disappeared without a trace on September
24, 2009). Perhaps sad for you and me, but devastating for the family.
MUZZLED:  Madam le
Consul. Her blog’s disappearance is the subject of latest idea submitted in the
Secretary’s Sounding Board to allow internal blogging at State. The time has come to “liberate”
blogging in the Dept? Stay tuned!
Best wishes to Diplopundit’s blog friends, tipsters and readers. Let me end this year with an old Egyptian blessing — may God stand between you and harm in all the empty
places you must walk. 
Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010!

 

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Quickie: Suicide Bomber Kills Eight at FOB Chapman

Worst single-day
casualty toll Since Beirut

Joby Warrick in
today’s issue of the Washington Post writes about a suicide attack that killed
8 American civilians in Afghanistan (Suicide
bomber attacks CIA base in Afghanistan, killing at least 8 Americans

| WaPo | December 31, 2009). Quick excerpts below:
A suicide bomber
infiltrated a CIA base in eastern Afghanistan
on Wednesday, killing at least eight Americans in what is believed to be the
deadliest single attack on U.S. intelligence personnel in the eight-year-long
war and one of the deadliest in the agency’s history, U.S. officials said.
The attack
represented an audacious blow to intelligence operatives at the vanguard of
U.S. counterterrorism operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan,
killing officials whose job involves plotting strikes against the Taliban, al-Qaeda
and other extremist groups that are active on the frontier between the two
nations. The facility that was targeted — Forward Operating Base Chapman — is
in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, which borders North Waziristan, the
Pakistani tribal area that is believed to be al-Qaeda’s home base.
[…]
A former senior
agency official said it was the worst single-day casualty toll for the agency
since eight CIA officers were killed in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in
Beirut in April 1983.
Read the whole
thing here.

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US Embassy Jakarta Issues Warden Message on Bali Warning

indonesia bali legong dancersImage by FriskoDude via Flickr

On December 31, 2009,
the US Embassy in Jakarta issued the following Warden Message on Bali. Reprinted
in part below:

The Bali Tourism Board widely distributed this message: “The
Governor of Bali Mr. Mangku Pastika wishes to share a message with all of us:
‘There is an indication of an attack to Bali tonight,’ but please don’t panic,
but put your security system to full alert.”  This message is shared
verbatim for your information. The safety and security recommendations in our
Consular Information Sheet, quoted below, remain valid.
“Indonesian police and security forces take active measures
against both ongoing threats posed by terrorist cells, including Jemaah
Islamiyah
(JI), a U.S. government-designated terrorist organization that
carried out several bombings at various times from 2002 to 2009 and outbreaks
of violence elsewhere.  While Indonesia’s counterterrorism efforts have
been ongoing and partly successful, violent elements have demonstrated a
willingness and ability to carry out deadly attacks with little or no warning. 
Most recently, in November 2009, unknown assailants shot at foreigners in Banda
Aceh, North Sumatra, an area that was devastated by the 2004 tsunami and the
scene of a long-running separatist conflict that ended in 2005.  The
gunfire wounded a European development worker.  A house occupied by U.S.
citizen teachers was targeted and hit by gunfire, but there were no U.S.
citizen casualties.  In July 2009, attacks by armed assailants in Papua
resulted in several deaths, including security personnel and one Australian
national.  Also in July, suspected JI elements bombed two Western hotels
in Jakarta, killing nine Indonesians and foreigners and injuring over 50,
including six U.S. citizens.  U.S. citizens in Indonesia must be
physically and mentally prepared to cope with future attacks even as they go
about their normal daily routines.
Extremists may target both official and private interests,
including hotels, clubs and shopping centers.  While it may be difficult
to modify one’s behavior to counter risks in a country where places in which
U.S. citizens and other Westerners must congregate to live and work are well
known and few in number, it is also extremely necessary.  In their work
and daily living activities, and while traveling, U.S. citizens should be vigilant
and prudent at all times.  We urge U.S. citizens to monitor local news
reports, vary their routes and times, and maintain a low profile.  U.S.
citizens must consider the security and safety preparedness of hotels,
residences, restaurants, and entertainment or recreation venues that they
frequent.”

Americans living and traveling in Indonesia are urged to register and update
their contact information with the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, U.S. Consulate
General in Surabaya, U.S. Consulate Medan or U.S. Consular Agency in
Bali.  Registration facilitates the U.S. Mission’s contact with Americans
in emergency situations, and may be done on line and in advance of
travel.  Information on registering can be found at the U.S. Department of
State’s Consular Affairs website at http://travelregistration.state.gov
and at the Embassy’s website at http://jakarta.usembassy.gov.  All Travel Warnings,
Travel Alerts, Worldwide Cautions, and recent warden messages are posted on the
Embassy website.
Read the whole thing here.
Note that Warden
Messages are not easily visible on the main page of the US Embassy’s website.  When checking for updates, click on American Citizen Services
,
and select Notices
to Americans
. 


Insider Quote: I now completely despise these words…

Wall of DeliverablesImage by Yandle via Flickr
“I’m spending all week this week in a training. This is also my last week on my current rotation, which means I have some projects to finish. This makes being unavailable 7 hours a day very inconvenient. Due to said training, I now completely despise the following words: “synergies”, “deliverables”, “results-oriented” and “tranche”. We’re only 2.5 days in. I’m sure there will be more.”


Carrie in Are You a Whiiiiiiiiiiiner??

from FS Blog: Worldwide Available
My Opinions Are Mine and Mine Alone