Goodbye 2010: 15 Questions to End the Year

There were some other interesting items we blogged about this past year, but the following are the questions that stayed with us, with no good answer it seems as we end the year.

#1. Who Leaked the Eikenberry Cables and Why? 
Wednesday, January 27, 2010

#2 Why the State Department Needs a C-U-L-T-U-R-A-L Makeover? 
Monday, February 22, 2010

#3. Huh? News: Condi Rice admits some regrets over the Iraq War?

Monday, March 22, 2010

#4. Huh? News: Illegal Immigrants Easily Identifiable by Clothes and Shoes?
Thursday, April 22, 2010

#5. Can we afford to be the ‘Bank of Afghanistan R Us’ in the next 15 years?
Monday, May 31, 2010

#6. What was he thinking? The Runaway General’s PR, Bombs
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

#7. Whatever happened to that challenged AFSA election results?
Thursday, July 1, 2010

#8. When are you too old to represent the United States abroad?
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Answer: 65, yada, yada, yada, 65!

#9.Why Are the Richest Muslim Countries “Missing in Action” in Pakistan’s Flooding Disaster?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

#10.Mission Accomplished: Iraq gets a $52.1 billion surplus and all we got was a lousy $13.4 trillion debt?
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

#11. What’s the best spin on secret holds in the US Senate? 
Monday, October 4, 2010

#12.Which State Department attrition rate do you like best?
Monday, November 8, 2010

#13. Who were asleep at the ports when 251,287 embassy cables ran away in a Lady Gaga CD?
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Link to Manning-Lamo Chatlogs from three versions here

#14.Why the bureaucracy needs some thinking brains and oh dear, these cables are naked as peeled grapes
Thursday, December 16, 2010

#15. What happened to American diplomat, James Hogan in Curacao?
Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy New Year to DiploPundit’s visitors, followers,
readers, sources, tipsters, email-pals and friends!

As we say goodbye to the old year,
we leave you with T.S. Eliot on the new year:
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
and next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

Stay safe y’all!


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Facebook Diplomacy: Top 10 US Embassy Facebook Pages Worldwide (2010)

This is an end of the year list of top Facebook pages by embassy and constituent posts. Unlike the previous one we put together here, this one purposely excluded the Information Resource Centers and the American Centers from this ranking.

Location
Name
Type
Region
Fans
1.
Indonesia, Jakarta
U.S. Embassy – Jakarta, Indonesia 
Embassy
EAP
300,647
2.
Indonesia, Surabaya 
US Consulate General Surabaya 
Consulate
EAP
34,319
3
Bolivia, La Paz
Embajada de Estados Unidos en La Paz
Embassy
WHA
25,937
4
Sri Lanka, Colombo
U.S. Embassy Colombo, Sri Lanka
Embassy
SCA
25,723
5
Paraguay, Asuncion
Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Paraguay
Embassy
WHA
23,103
6
Philippines, Manila 
U.S. Embassy, Manila Philippines 
Embassy
EAP
16,806
7
South Africa, Pretoria
United States Mission to South Africa
Embassy
AF
15,893

8
Peru, Monterrico 
Embajada de Estados Unidos en Peru 
Embassy
WHA
13,614

9
France, Paris 
U.S. Embassy France               
Embassy 
EUR
12,504
10
Ecuador, Guayaquil
Consulado General de los Estados Unidos en Guayaquil
Consulate
WHA
12,405

The US State Department maintains 223 Facebook pages according to the Dashboard put together by the Office of Innovation. It has a total of 1,546,972 fans. We note the following:

  • 12 Facebook pages for Information Resource Centers and only two made it to the 10,000+ fan-mark

Argentina, Buenos Aires Information Resource Center  
WHA      35,723 fans

Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo IRC Santo Domingo
WHA      17,123 fans

  • Of the 27 American Corner FB pages, only three made it to the 5,000+ fan-mark.

India, New Delhi      SCA      12,519
India, Mumbai          SCA        9,814
Vietnam, Hanoi        EAP         5,337

  • We also note that US Mission Egypt has four FB pages (2 IRCs, Study USA-Egypt and U.S. Embassy Cairo News and Information).  US Embassy Algeria also has four FB pages (Cons Section-American Citizen Services, Cons Section – Visa Unit, Alumni & Education Advising and Access Program Embassy). It makes no sense to us why a Consular Section would have two FB pages. You need people to run these pages if you are planning to do this right. It may be that each unit has a very willing volunteer, but what happens when the volunteer moves on? Without a real outreach plan, and without full management buy-in, these pages (or official blogs) will be difficult to sustain. (A side note — US Embassy London used to have at least 4 blogs, one is now inaccessible, and the American Culturati died when its blogger rotated to his new post).     
     
  • We think that FB pages with minimal/sporadic updates are as bad, or even worse than being absent in FB. At least when you do not have an FB presence, you can only be faulted for your absence. When you have an FB page but do not have timely updates, that’s like coming to a party and reading a book. It also comes across as if post is not quite prepared or engaged in its own digital outreach. Consular Section – U.S. Consulate General Johannesburg for instance has 92 fans and has not been updated since September. Our other pet peeve is FB pages with no local material.  U.S. Mission Uganda on FB has 151 fans and no local news or update on what this mission is doing in Africa.  Why bother reading it there when you can go to America.gov and read all the same full postings in one site?           
  • We’re pleased to see that the Dashboard has been refined to pull up the FB rankings by post type and by region.  We are hoping that the top gainers and bottom losers statistics eventually can also go back in multiple date range. That would give FB post handlers a grip on whether they are moving forward or backward in their digital efforts.

Some special mention —        


US Mission Indonesia on Facebook (Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan)

The US Embassy Jakarta/Facebook with 300,647 fans is #1 in the Top Pages of the State Department’s FB pages (domestic and worldwide).  US Consulate General Surabaya with 34,319 is #9 in the Top Pages and the only constituent post in the top pages. 

Since the Presidential visit to Indonesia which bumped US Embassy Jakarta’s page up the 300,000 fan-mark, Jakarta has continued to be one of the five top gainers.  But lately, we’ve also seen Consulate General Lahore in Pakistan, enter the scene as one of the top gainers.  This is not unexpected.  We should mention that the guy who built up US Embassy Jakarta’s FB presence (with his local team) is Tristram Perry who is now the Information Officer at the US ConGen in Lahore. Consulate Surabaya’s FB effort was under Andie DeArment ; she is now the Information Officer at US ConGen in Karachi.    

It might be that US Embassy Jakarta has a unique place in the Facebook universe. After all, President Obama did spend part of his childhood in Jakarta and he is remembered fondly there. Although favorable views of President Obama in Indonesia dropped by five points in 2010, the Indonesians remain at 65% in their levels of confidence and approval of the US President.

We think it also helps that Indonesia is second only to the United States on Facebook users by countries with some 31,784,080 users and a 13.11% penetration rate. Of course, out of an estimated 2010 population of 242,968,342. 

And this made us wonder about Kenya —

If Jakarta is a unique place due to President Obama’s childhood connection to Indonesia, what about Kenya, where the entire country claim President Obama as a native son (even though the 44th president was not born here, barely knew his father and did not visit Kenya until adulthood)?

Here is what US Embassy Kenya’s Facebook page looks like:

U.S. Embassy Nairobi      Embassy      AF      1,662

Not quite a fair comparison given that Kenya is #67 among Facebook users by country, has only 997,120 users and an FB penetration rate of 2.49%.   Still, we think it’s worth mentioning that the latest data put Kenya’s internet users at almost 4 million, with an internet penetration rate of 10.0 % and a user growth rate from 2000-2010 at 1,897.8 %.  A smaller pool, but certainly quite an opportunity.
.

US Mission Pakistan on Facebook (Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar)

The challenge of Facebook diplomacy in Pakistan is quite  daunting. Well, all work is daunting there, in fact.  According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project in 2009, only 13% of Pakistani Muslims expressed confidence in President Obama, but this year even fewer (8%) hold this view.  By comparison, in Indonesia this number is 65%.   The United States favorability rating in Indonesia is also at 59% while in Pakistan it is at 17%.  

Also, Pakistan is #31 in Facebook users by countries with 3,145,840 users, a +37.99% growth rate in the last six months and an FB penetration rate of  1.77%. But if you look at the numbers below, you will note that internet users in Pakistan have grown almost ten times that of Indonesia in the last ten years.

Internet Use (Via Internet World Stats)

Pakistan Est 2010 population:    177,276,594
Internet users latest data:             18,500,000
Penetration rate                                 10.4 %
User growth 2000-2010            13,716.3 %

Indonesia Est 2010 population:  242,968,342
Internet users latest data              30,000,000
Penetration rate                                 12.3 %
User growth 2000-2010              1,400.0 %

It will probably be a hard slog for our folks there.  But where’s the fun without the challenge? 

To the digital outreach team at US Mission Pakistan — here’s looking at you kids!  We’ll be peeking over your shoulders the next year …. 

   

Quickie: U.S. Revokes Venezuelan Ambassador’s Visa Amid Feud With Chavez

Via Bloomberg Businessweek:

The U.S. revoked the visa of President Hugo Chavez’s ambassador to Washington as part of a five-month diplomatic feud between the two countries.

Bernardo Alvarez, who has overseen Venezuela’s stormy relations with the U.S. since 2003, was expelled after Chavez on Dec. 28 said he was ready for the U.S. to break off diplomatic ties, Venezuela’s communications ministry said. Chavez has been refusing since July to welcome the Obama administration’s choice of Larry Palmer as its next envoy to Caracas and on Dec. 20 delivered an official letter of protest rejecting the nominee.

“We said there would be consequences when the Venezuelan government” refused to accept Palmer’s appointment, Mark Toner, deputy State Department spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement. “We have taken appropriate, proportional and reciprocal action.”

Palmer angered Chavez after the former U.S. ambassador to Honduras told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Venezuelan army has low morale and that members of the government have “clear ties” with terrorist organizations in neighboring Colombia.
[…]
In 2008, Chavez threatened to cut off oil sales to the U.S., only to back down after a week. Venezuela sells more than half of its oil output to the U.S., which got about 10 percent of its crude oil imports from Venezuela in September.

Active links added.  Read the whole thing here.


That’s preposterous … yeah, but will anyone has the cojones to change it?

Nicholas Kristof‘s December 25 column talks about The Big (Military) Taboo. Excerpt:  

I’m a believer in a robust military, which is essential for backing up diplomacy. But the implication is that we need a balanced tool chest of diplomatic and military tools alike. Instead, we have a billionaire military and a pauper diplomacy. The U.S. military now has more people in its marching bands than the State Department has in its foreign service — and that’s preposterous.

What’s more, if you’re carrying an armload of hammers, every problem looks like a nail. The truth is that military power often isn’t very effective at solving modern problems, like a nuclear North Korea or an Iran that is on the nuclear path. Indeed, in an age of nationalism, our military force is often counterproductive.
[…]
Paradoxically, it’s often people with experience in the military who lead the way in warning against overinvestment in arms. It was President Dwight Eisenhower who gave the strongest warning: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” And in the Obama administration, it is Defense Secretary Robert Gates who has argued that military spending on things large and small can and should expect closer, harsher scrutiny; it is Secretary Gates who has argued most eloquently for more investment in diplomacy and development aid.
[…]
There are a few signs of hope in the air. The Simpson-Bowles deficit commission proposes cutting money for armaments, along with other spending. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a signature project, the quadrennial diplomacy and development review, which calls for more emphasis on aid and diplomacy in foreign policy.

“Leading through civilian power saves lives and money,” Mrs. Clinton noted, and she’s exactly right. The review is a great document, but we’ll see if it can be implemented — especially because House Republicans are proposing cuts in the State Department budget.

Active links added above.  Read the whole thing here.

Our guess — no. Even if somebody grows a pair, and change all that needs changing, it is political harakiri. You will die a very painful death where you will be called a bunch of nasty names all the way to your graveyard, and even as they shovel dirt over you. And then you die.  And life as we know it, will go on as the world turns.

We’ve become a great cynic in my odd years of old.  We think that diplomacy will remain a pauper and the billionaire military complex is here to stay. And we will fight these forever wars, until, well — until they take away all our checks and all our credit cards. And when nobody is willing to accept our IOUs anymore. That would make us very poor and very sad.

Not our  fault we’re feeling so totally purple blue these days.  It’s this awful cold weather and this Kristof talking on and on about this old taboo.  The new year is just around the corner and we can’t even feel festive about the military pork set aside for our home states? Ay caramba!   

Meanwhile, former UN Ambassador John Bolton, who is reportedly one of those eying the wide Republican field for 2012 has something important to say about the defense budget and the ballooning deficit: Via

“I think you’ve got to be just as much on the outlook for waste and fraud on defense spending as anywhere else, but the fact is we’re entering a very uncertain period in the world. We’ve got a lot of threats out there that we’re not prepared for. Not just nuclear proliferation, but chemical and biological weapons…. This is not the time to cut back. I understand there’s a lot of pressure to get deficits down. I’m all in favor of it. But national security comes first, pure and simple, as far as I’m concerned.”

Now that absolutely just cheer us up. Cut everything — schools, health care, medicare, etc. etc. etc.  Everything.  EXCEPT the untouchable pot of gold — in the name of defense.

Pray tell, who’s going to defend us from ourselves?           


Recess Appointments: Ambassadors Bryza, Eisen, Ford and Ricciardone

On December 29, President Obama announced his intent to recess appoint six nominees to fill key administration posts that have been left vacant for an extended period of time.  Four of the six recess appointees are for ambassadorships in Baku, Prague, Damascus and Ankara! 

The President announced his intent to recess appoint the following four nominees for ambassadorships:

  • Matthew J. Bryza, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan, Department of State (Senate hold by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
  • Norman L. Eisen, Nominee for Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Department of State    
    (Senate “hold” by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IO)
  • Robert Stephen Ford, Nominee for Ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic, Department of State.  His nomination was announced on February 16, 2010, cleared by the SFRC on April 13.  He had been waiting since. Who placed a hold on the Ford nomination? Who knows? It’s a secret hold.  One or more of these 13 GOP Senators?  One of these 8 GOP Senators?
  • Francis J. Ricciardone, Jr., Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, Department of State (Senate “hold: by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-KS)

Politico’s Laura Rozen who reported on this here points out that “recess appointments last for one year beyond the remainder of the Congress’s term. In addition, the White House could decide to resubmit the nominations during the 112th Congress.”


Related posts:

Related item:
President Obama Announces Recess Appointments to Key Administration Posts | December 29, 2010

Quickie: Reinvent, Don’t Replace, the Special Envoy

Andrew Exum in FP’s Argument column  pens 5 Ways to Win the War in Afghanistan (FP | December 15, 2010).  Item #3 caught our attention:

3. Reinvent, Don’t Replace, the Special Envoy

Trying to replace a diplomatic giant like the late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke is a fool’s errand. The president should not even try. But he will still need officials responsible for coordinating U.S. policy between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The comparatively low-key acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Frank Ruggiero, should keep Holbrooke’s team in place to do just that.

As far as the regional “super envoy” job that Holbrooke attempted to fill (with mixed success, it must be said), it might be best left to a respected United Nations diplomat — such as Lakhdar Brahimi, who had earlier successes enlisting the support of Afghanistan’s neighbors. State Department officials and CENTCOM commander James Mattis, along with envoys in Kabul and Islamabad, could then be used to properly allocate diplomatic and military resources between the two countries.

In Afghanistan, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry is likely headed home soon. The president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should spend more time searching for his replacement than trying to replace Holbrooke. I’m sure Gen. Petraeus would appreciate an attempt to lure former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker out of semi-retirement and back to the region.

This is, of course, not the first time we’ve heard of Ambassador Eikenberry’s eventual departure.  In fact, in early December, somebody was making the case on teevee that the ambassador should go “because his relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai had been irreparably damaged by leaks.” 

Also, last week, David Rothkopf blogged about All Obama’s personnel issues resolved on one napkin and floated a name for Richard Holbrooke’s successor:

Want to replace Holbrooke with someone who will dive into the issues with abandon and courage? How about Bill Richardson? He’s a bit of an unmade bed, but he gets results and is great on the personal diplomacy front. 

I’m sure we’ll see more names floated around before long.


UK-Russia exchanged PNG’ed diplomats for the holidays

We’re late on this — but apparently, a British diplomat was ordered out of Russia in a tit-for-tat expulsion. Moscow calls the ejection from its London embassy of a Russian diplomat as groundless. The UK Foreign Office insists there is ‘clear evidence’ of spying.

Via the Guardian:

The mutual diplomatic expulsions between Russia and Britain are the first since 2007, when Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko was killed in London with a rare radioactive isotope.

“The British side took an unfriendly step the other day, having groundlessly declared one of our colleagues in our embassy in London persona non grata,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

Active links added above.  I bet you, neither side bothered to buy Christmas wrappers and ribbons or wrapped their PNG’ed gifts for the holidays.    


"I am a poor diplomat" — Israeli diplomats packing bags over low pay

YNet News is reporting that Israeli diplomats are packing their bags and heading home over low pay. Spouse employment features in the story, too. Is that surprising? Excerpt:

Y. like eight other Israeli diplomats, recently told the Israeli Foreign Ministry that he will be shortening his term of employment – over the low pay.

Three diplomats in the US, two in Latin America, two in Asia and one in Europe are joining him in returning home – they include a spokesman at a large embassy and an important envoy at another embassy.

“My wife was forced to leave her job because of my employment with the diplomatic service, so she works as a secretary with the delegation making $1900 a month,” says Y. who has shortened his contract by over a year.

“Most of her salary pays for our kid’s education and she is frustrated that I’m keeping her here as a secretary.” Y. makes just $4,800 a month – and that includes all the extras. That might sound like a lot when converted into shekels, but life abroad means that his expenses are much higher than they would be in Israel.
[…]
Y. and his colleagues describe a bleak reality where people who are supposed to be representing the country, live in near penury – where expenses often come out of their own pockets and parents are asked to help out.

“I find myself taking the metro to a meeting with the President of the United States Barack Obama, because if I take a car the expense would be crazy,” says Y.

L. will be returning to Israel after only four months in his diplomatic role. “We have $1,500 a month that our parents give us just so that we can make ends meet,” he explained.
[…]
“They don’t receive travel reimbursements and don’t attend diplomatic events,” he stated. “They don’t receive overtime and are expected to work around the clock. We fail to understand why diplomats who serve on behalf of their country need to subsidize Israel.”

According to him, diplomats prefer to go back to Israel and receive the meager salary – but at least their wife/husband can find a normal job in Israel and increase the monthly family income.

Read the whole thing here.

In a related news, Haaretz.com has an item about an interruption at the Ambassador’s conference in Jerusalem this week when the foreign ministry’s workers’ committee launched a protest on Israeli diplomats’ low wages. Apparently, committee representatives arrived at the conference hall wearing shirts with the slogan “I am a poor diplomat” while blowing whistles.

 

Is David Miliband heading to WashDC as Her Majesty’s Ambassador?

David Miliband, British Secretary of State for...Image via WikipediaUpdated 12/29: Not at all surprising.  David Miliband just poured  cold water over the ambo to US rumor via Twitter:

@DMiliband
Seen the UK ambassador to US rumours. I am not in for it and wouldn’t take it.

* * *

Well, not right away like tomorrow… but is he? Here is the Guardian:

Downing Street is considering offering David Miliband the post of British ambassador in Washington, the Guardian has learned.

The former foreign secretary, still recovering from being beaten to the Labour leadership by his brother Ed, has the skills, contacts and abilities to make a success of the post, it is believed.

His name has also been mentioned by shadow cabinet members in connection with the post, which has been occupied by Sir Nigel Sheinwald since October 2007. Sheinwald, a lifetime diplomat, is due to retire shortly.

It has been pointed out inside the cabinet that Miliband has forged strong personal relations with the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and would be a voice trusted by the Obama administration.
[…]
The precedent of Peter Jay is seen as relevant to Miliband’s appointment. Jay, a broadcaster and economist, was made ambassador to the United States between 1977 and 1979 by the then foreign secretary, David Owen, a move that caused controversy among diplomats angry that a plumb posting had been taken away from the professional diplomatic service.

Former cabinet colleagues who have spoken to David Miliband have found him wary of the idea, partly because he is not clear it is a job with real power, rather than a message carrier from the British government to the US.

Continue reading, David Miliband may be offered US ambassador post

Oh, that sounds awfully familiar, down to the career diplomats who might be upset with that choice.  American career diplomats on the other hand, no longer set their clear sights on the US Embassy in London.  The last five ambassadors we have over there (save one who was an Admiral) all have rich stripes.  The last career diplomat sent to London was Raymond G. H. Seitz who served there from 1991-1994. If another political appointee is sent there between now and say 2013, the American diplomatic service will not be shocked.     

On not having enough power to operate — Hillary Clinton was reportedly wary of the SoS position when initially offered for similar reasons (Woodward’s Obama’s Wars, p.27). David Miliband was the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2007-2010 under Gordon Brown’s government.  Also he is a much younger politician (born 1965) than Hillary. Young, dashing, brainy guy — I think he’ll be great in WashDC but he might not think it’s great in DC since he’ll be away from domestic politics.  HMA’s position in Washington, DC is one of the plum positions in the FCO, of course, but if he takes the job, that would be like Condi Rice taking on the chief of mission post at the US Embassy in London, after she got off the 7th floor.

 

 


What happened to American diplomat, James Hogan in Curacao?

American diplomat, James E. Hogan was reported missing in Curacao, the Netherlands Antilles on September 25, 2009.  He disappeared 15 months ago and we are no closer to understanding what happened to him. One local newspaper seems to be the only one that still report “updates” on the case this past year.

Curacao – Missing U.S. Vice Consul Hogan Case Still Open  (Extra)

U.S. Vice Consul James Hogan went missing a year-to-date. There is no news to report, but the case is still open according to Public Prosecutor Giselle Veen-Jonkhout.

Curacao – Remembrance Ceremony Vice Consul James Hogan (Extra)

There has been no declaration of death in the U.S. Vice-Consul James Hogan case, despite rumors in the media that he was declared dead, a U.S. Consulate General spokesperson said. Public Prosecutor Giselle Veen-Jonkhout and the U.S. Consulate confirmed and emphasized that the investigation is ongoing.  The U.S. Government made what is called a “finding of death” which is an administrative measure that enables his family to apply for certain benefits in connection with his U.S. Government employment. “A remembrance ceremony was held for members of the U.S. Consulate staff only, no local dignitaries were invited”, the spokesperson said. Mr. Hogan’s family has returned to the U.S.


7 FAM 280 (Presumptive Death)
states that Section 234 of the James W. Nance and Meg Donovan Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2000 and 2001 (Public Law 106-113) (22 U.S.C. 2715b) explicitly authorizes a consular officer to issue a report of death or of presumptive death in the case of a finding of death by the appropriate local authorities.  In addition it explicitly authorizes a consular officer to issue a report of presumptive death in the absence of a finding of death by the appropriate local authorities. This latter provision is intended to allow the consular officer to issue a report of presumptive death in exceptional circumstances where the evidence that the individual has died (e.g., he or she was listed on a passenger manifest on an aircraft that had no survivors) is persuasive, but local authorities have not issued and are not likely to issue a finding of death (because, e.g., issuance of a local death certificate requires forensic evidence that is not available, there is no local authority that clearly has jurisdiction, or by law a death certificate in case of presumed death may not be issued for a lengthy period such as five years).

Below is from FAM 283 when there is NO LOCAL FINDING
(CT:CON-153; 01-11-2007)
a. A United States citizen or non-citizen national may disappear or be missing in circumstances where it appears likely that the individual has died, but there is no local authority able or willing to issue a death certificate, or no judicial finding of death, or no local competent authority willing to make a finding of presumptive death. This situation may include, for example, death in a plane crash where there are no identifiable remains, death in a plane crash beyond the territory of any country, death in an avalanche, disappearance/death at sea, or other sudden disaster where the body is not immediately (or perhaps ever) recoverable.

b. Authorization of issuance. The Department (CA/OCS/ACS), with the concurrence of CA/OCS/PRI (ASKPRI@state.gov) and L/CA, may authorize the issuance of a consular report of presumptive death in such circumstances. A consular report of presumptive death may not be issued without the Department’s authorization, which must be approved by the Managing Director of CA/OCS.

c. Considerations in determining whether the Departments Consular Affairs (CA) office will authorize issuance of a Report of Presumptive Death. The Department’s decision whether to issue a Report of Presumptive Death is discretionary, and will be based on the totality of circumstances in each particular case. Although no one factor is conclusive or determinative, the Department will consider the factors cited below, among other relevant considerations, when deciding whether to authorize issuance in a particular case:

(1) Whether the death is believed to have occurred within a geographic
area where no sovereign government exercises jurisdiction;

(2) Whether the government exercising jurisdiction over the place
where the death is believed to have occurred lacks laws or
procedures for making findings of presumptive death;

(3) Whether the government exercising jurisdiction over the place
where the death is believed to have occurred requires a waiting
period exceeding five years before findings of presumptive death
may be made;

(4) Whether the person who is believed to have died was seen to be in
imminent peril by credible witnesses;

(5) Whether the person who is believed to have died is reliably known
to have been in a place which experienced a natural disaster, or
catastrophic event, that was capable of causing death;

(6) Whether the person believed to have died was listed on the certified
manifest of, and was confirmed to have boarded, an aircraft, or
vessel, which was destroyed and, despite diligent search by
competent authorities, some or all of the remains were not
recovered or could not be identified;

(7) Whether there is evidence of fraud, deception, or malicious intent.

We do not know if a report of presumptive death was officially issued in this case. And this one we still do not understand — how can an American official simply disappears from his host country of assignment and there is barely a ripple in the American press?

Related posts: