#HavanaSyndrome at U.S. Embassy Bogotá: Who should be in the business of confirming these incidents?

 

Via Daily Press briefing, October 12, 2021:
QUESTION: … And can you confirm the Havana syndrome cases or deny it, or just address that in Colombia embassy in Bogotá, in U.S. Embassy in Bogotá?
MR PRICE:  …. When it comes to Havana syndrome, you will probably not be surprised to hear me say we are not in the business of confirming reports. But —
QUESTION: But I don’t understand, why are you not in the business of confirming reports? This is squarely about State Department personnel. These are happening at U.S. embassies. Who should be in the business of confirming these incidents?
MR PRICE: We are in the business of, number one, believing those who have reported these incidents, ensuring that they get the prompt care they need in whatever form that takes, whether that is at post, whether that is back here in the Washington, D.C. area. We are in the business of doing all we can to protect our workforce and the broader chief of mission community around the world.
QUESTION: So have they reported in Bogota U.S. embassy?
MR PRICE: I’m sorry?
QUESTION: Have they reported – like, are you doing all of those things for U.S. embassy in Bogota?
MR PRICE: We are doing this everywhere an anomalous health incident is reported. But we are also doing things universally, and we are communicating with our workforce. We are instituting new training modules to ensure that outgoing State Department officers know how to detect a potential anomalous health incident, they know how to report a potential anomalous health incident, they know who – to whom to turn should they need to report it, they know the type of assistance that they can receive. Their families are apprised of these dynamics as well. And as you know, the Secretary has had an opportunity to meet with some of those who have reported AHIs.
There is no higher priority that the Secretary has to the health, the safety, the security of our workforce. I’ve said this before, but even before he was Secretary of State, one of the briefings he proactively requested as the nominee for the office he now holds during the transition was a comprehensive briefing on so-called Havana syndrome or anomalous health incidents. He wanted to make sure he entered this job understanding where we were and what we had done, and importantly, what this department could do better to support our workforce at all levels. And we have taken a number of steps, including in terms of communication, in terms of care, in terms of detection, in terms of protection for our workforce, and that is something that will continue to be a priority for the Secretary.
Francesco.
QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, it was this building that (inaudible) spoke about those cases in Havana and then in China. Why aren’t you confirming for the sake of transparency where there are cases reported – if they are Havana syndrome or not, it’s another thing, but where there are reported incidents, why aren’t you doing that? And then I have another question on Cuba protest.
MR PRICE: So in many cases it is a matter of privacy of individuals, wanting to respect privacy. But let me just make clear that when cases have been reported, our posts overseas have communicated that clearly to the community within the embassy. We have also engaged – Brian McKeon has engaged with posts that have reported a number of anomalous health incidents. So it is not – certainly not – the case that we are ignoring this. We are just not speaking to the press, we’re speaking to our workforce, as you might expect when it comes to a matter of their health and safety and security.
GRRRR! STOP THAT BROKEN RECORD!
Excuse me, was I loud? That’s nice that they value the privacy of individuals.
Requesting a confirmation of reported cases at one post does not require that the State Department released the names of the affected individuals. Did it happen there or not? So how does that actually compromises employees’ privacy?
And while we’re on the subject of “when cases have been reported” … how many emails do employees need to send to how many entities within State/MED –MEDMR? MEDHART? MEDFART? MEDFUCKIT– before anyone get the courtesy of a response?
We regret to say this but there’s no shortage of opportunities for Foggy Bottom to disappoint these days.
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Swastika Investigation: No update but DS has “resorted to a number of investigative techniques”

 

Related posts:
August 11/21: Non-Update on the Swastika Investigation in Foggy Bottom
July 29, 2021: @StateDept Opens Swastika Incident Investigation in Foggy Bottom
Via DPB, October 12, 2021:
QUESTION: … I just want to ask about two reports. These are non-policy things. One – or actually, I’ll just ask about one because the IG report on it was not – I want to ask about something that has dropped off the radar but I asked you about a little while ago, and that’s the swastika incident in the elevator. What’s – it’s been now almost three – more than three months, or almost three months.
MR PRICE: It has. It has.
QUESTION: What’s going on?
MR PRICE: And our Diplomatic Security remains engaged in this investigation. As you know, immediately upon discovering this horrific symbol in the building, the Secretary ordered an investigation. They have resorted to a number of investigative techniques. We are also taking into account what other practices, procedures, tools we might implement here in the building to help us in the course of any such future investigations, hoping that we don’t need to resort to that. I don’t have an update for you.
QUESTION: So there’s – okay, nothing.
MR PRICE: But it remains a priority for us.

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@StateDept Appoints Ambassador Elizabeth Jones to CARE (For Afghanistan)

 

At the Daily Press Briefing of October 12, 2021, the State Department announced the appointment of Ambassador Elizabeth Jones as Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts or CARE for short, as Foggy Bottom is fond of acronyms.
… So we are extraordinarily grateful and honored to welcome back to the Department someone I think many of you know well, and that’s Ambassador Elizabeth Jones. Ambassador Jones is assuming oversight of the entire Afghan relocation effort, from our ongoing efforts to facilitate the departure of individuals from Afghanistan, to their onward relocation, going to the so-called lily pads in the Middle East and elsewhere, and possible future resettlement here in the United States.
She is someone who in many ways is uniquely qualified to take on this role – her first assignment as a Foreign Service officer was in Kabul – and is a member of the Senior Foreign Service. She was what was then known as deputy SRAP, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. She’s been our ambassador to Kazakhstan, and she has been an assistant secretary here twice over, once to our Near Eastern Affairs Bureau and also to our Bureau of European Affairs.
And so as the new CARE – we like our acronyms here, but the Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts – she will focus not only on the very complex issues related to relocation and resettlement but also on outreach: outreach to our partners with whom we’re working very closely in the advocacy community, in the veterans community; our partners, of course, in Congress; all of you we consider our partners as well; and to our international partners to help effectuate and streamline all of it.
And so just to put a period on this, CARE, the coordinator’s office, really has four key functions. One, as I said, is the relocation of individuals out of Afghanistan for individuals who so choose to depart. Two is the third-country transit and processing outside of the United States. Three is resettlement in the United States, and of course, there will be heavy coordination with DHS and with Governor Markell and his office at the White House. And then four, overall outreach and engagement, and we understand just how important that is. There are many stakeholders who have a keen interest in this and who have demonstrated a keen ability to help move forward our collective mission to bring out of Afghanistan those who wish to leave, those to whom we have a special commitment, and we look forward to continuing to work with them.
The AP’s Matt Lee asked “On CARE, really, who came up with this acronym? Did you ask the actual CARE – ?”
Ned Price, the Department Spokesperson said “Matt, we have a lot of acronyms in this building. This is probably one of the better ones.”
Lee responded “Yeah. But there’s particular significance to the acronym CARE and how it relates to the Marshall Plan, and what the Secretary was doing in Paris last week. Did anyone think about that? No? All right.”
Alright. Alright. Alright.
Wondering how this job of relocating people who still want to leave can be done without USG presence in the country.  Also we’re interested to know who is the protecting power for the United States in Afghanistan? You are welcome to send us a whisper.
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