Big shout out to Embassy guards & Seoul Metro Police Agency for responding to protesters who breached perimeter around my residence. 2nd incident in 13 months in Heart of Seoul. This time they tried to forcibly enter my home itself. 19 arrested. Cats are OK. Thanks @polinlove !
Terrific visit by “Tad” Davis, State Dept’s Director, Bureau of Overseas Building Operations. Here, he’s making well-deserved presentations to 2 Habib House staff who were injured in last week’s intruder incident. These 2 men exemplified our Ethos as they ”Protected this House.” pic.twitter.com/YNRFxXRlPF
On June 13, 2019, the house bill was introduced by Rep. Smith, Christopher H. [R-NJ-4]. It has 21 co-sponsors and was “referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committees on the Judiciary, and Financial Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.”
A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the President to become law. GovTrack gave the house bill a 20% chance of being enacted citing Skopos Labs (details); and the Senate bill a 41% chance of being enacted citing Skopos Labs (details).
As for the U.S. Consulate General, due to the unique status of the Hong Kong and Macau SARs under the “one country, two systems” frameworks, U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau reports directly to the State Department in Washington, D.C. It is not part of U.S. Mission China.
Post is currently headed by Consul General Hanscom Smith who assumed his duties as the Consul General representing the United States to Hong Kong and Macau in July, 2019. According to his bio, Mr. Smith is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, most recently acting as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State responsible for China affairs. Mr. Smith previously served as Consul General in Shanghai and as Director of the Office of Chinese and Mongolian Affairs at the Department of State. His foreign languages are Mandarin Chinese, French, Danish, and Khmer.
Post’s Deputy Consul General is DCM Paul Horowitz, a career member of the U.S. Department of State Senior Foreign Service assumed his duties in June 2019. According to his bio, Mr. Horowitz has spent much of his career in East Asia, focused primarily on economic and trade issues, including assignments in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He speaks Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese, and Bosnian.
▶️ Hong Kong police fired tear gas at protesters calling for help to bring democracy to the city at the U.S. Consulate, Sunday, September 8.
Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong marched to the U.S. Consulate on Sunday in an effort to drum up support for American legislation that would penalize officials who suppress freedoms in the cityhttps://t.co/8d8wCVFaXg
The sounds of today’s renewed #HongKongProtests. A masked, black-clad #HongKong protestor drums while brandishing an American flag. Thousands of people are marching up, past the U.S. consulate asking the U.S. Congress to pass a human rights act to support them. @CBSNews is here. pic.twitter.com/EhPsr3Sf32
The principal officers of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs are listed here.
Ambassador Atul Keshap is a career senior Foreign Service Officer currently serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Across his 25 year career as an American diplomat, Ambassador Keshap has served at postings in India, Morocco, and Guinea, and as United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives. He has served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, as U.S. Senior Official for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, and as an Office Director in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.
Ambassador Keshap has negotiated or advanced bilateral and multilateral initiatives at senior levels with counterparts from the European Union, United Nations, Japan, United Kingdom, France, India, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Mexico, Russia, China, Indonesia, Egypt, Morocco, and several other countries in Africa, the Arab world, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
Prior to his current assignment, Ambassador Keshap served at the Department of Defense as the National Defense University’s Vice Chancellor for the College of International Security Affairs. Earlier in his career, he served as Director for North Africa and Middle East regional affairs on the National Security Council staff in the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
In 2018, Ambassador Keshap received one of the State Department’s highest honors, the Distinguished Honor Award, from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in recognition of his leadership in advancing U.S. interests in the Indian Ocean region. He is also the recipient of numerous individual Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards.
On July 16, the US Embassy in Tokyo issues a statement concerning the expected resignation of Ambassador William F. Hagerty IV:
U.S. Ambassador to Japan William F. Hagerty IV is in the process of resigning as Ambassador. He was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Japan on July 27, 2017 and will have served approximately two years.
Ambassador Hagerty is honored to have represented the President and the American people in his work to advance the U.S.-Japan Alliance, the cornerstone of peace and prosperity in the Pacific.
Upon Ambassador Hagerty’s departure, Joseph M. Young will assume duties as the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
Ambassador Hagerty reportedly departed post on July 22, 2019.
According to Embassy Tokyo, CDA Young became Chargé d’Affaires ad interim on July 20, 2019. Below is his brief bio:
CDA Joseph M. Young began his tenure as Deputy Chief of Mission on August 17, 2017. Mr. Young, a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, previously served as Director for Japanese Affairs at the Department of State from August 2014. From 2012 to 2014, he was Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor for the U.S. Pacific Command. Mr. Young served as Political-Military Unit Chief at U.S. Embassy Tokyo from 2009 to 2012.
Mr. Young’s other assignments include: Political-Economic Section Chief, U.S. Embassy Dublin (2004-2007); Aviation Negotiations Officer in the State Department’s Economics Bureau (2002-2004); Economics Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Beijing (1999-2002); Economics Research at the Foreign Service Institute (1996-1997); Political Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Nairobi (1994-1996); and Consular Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Singapore (1991-1993).
Mr. Young holds a master’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in Classics from Borromeo College. He speaks Japanese and Chinese. Mr. Young is married and has three daughters.
Tennessee loving Bill Hagerty, who was my Tennessee Victoy Chair and is now the very outstanding Ambassador to Japan, will be running for the U.S. Senate. He is strong on crime, borders & our 2nd A. Loves our Military & our Vets. Has my Complete & Total Endorsement!
Middle Tennessee Republican Bill Hagerty is in the process of resigning as U.S. Ambassador to Japan so he can run for the U.S. Senate seat that will soon be vacated by Sen. Lamar Alexander, but we won’t be hearing much from him until at least next week.https://t.co/IEKuzbyput
A car carrying inflammable gas appears to have purposely crashed into the main entrance of the US Embassy in Seoul….US officials said they suddenly heard a "thud" and soon after the marines guarding the facility said the main gate would be shut down. Photo credit: Newsis pic.twitter.com/cUFR5fnPPf
As a display of our enduring friendship and important partnerships with Indonesia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan Jr., Chargé d’affaires for the U.S. Mission to ASEAN Jane Bocklage, and Director of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) Addison D. “Tad” Davis IV, along with Indonesian Government officials, dedicated the new U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia today.
The new complex provides a secure, modern, sustainable, and resilient platform for U.S. diplomacy in Indonesia and the ASEAN region.
Davis Brody Bond Architects and Planners of New York, New York is the design architect for the project and Page of Washington, D.C. is the architect of record. B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama constructed the facility.
Since 1999, as part of the Department’s Capital Security Construction Program, OBO has completed 154 new diplomatic facilities and has an additional 49 projects in design or under construction.
Ambassador Donovan notes that “This celebration comes at a very opportune time, as this year we are also celebrating 70 years of diplomatic ties between the United States and Indonesia. The United States was one of the first countries to recognize Indonesia’s independence, establishing our first embassy on December 28, 1949. When President Truman appointed the first U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, H. Merle Cochran, he reaffirmed U.S. support welcoming Indonesia into the “community of free nations.”
He added that architects and designers took into consideration Jakarta’s climate and that the building uses the latest in environmental sustainability features that reduces energy consumption. The covered walkways are topped with solar panels and the exterior metal sunshades limit sun exposure and reduce the demand for air conditioning. The building’s design reportedly also incorporates water conservation strategies to irrigate the green landscaped areas by collecting and re-using storm run-off.
The primary building is finished but the State Department is also constructing a heritage building on the site used by a Republic of Indonesia delegation during negotiations for Indonesia’s independence with the Dutch in 1949. It is estimated that the completion of that building as well as a consular pavilion will occur by the end of 2019.
On June 6, WaPo wrote about Mark Lenzi and his family who started noticing noises in April 2017 at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China. “A few months later, the headaches started — pain that lasted for days at a time. Lenzi and his wife experienced the same symptoms, which soon included chronic sleeplessness as well. Lenzi says he asked his superiors for help but they dismissed his concerns. Consulate doctors prescribed painkillers and Ambien, which did nothing to address the underlying causes of the problem. And then, last month, Lenzi was shocked to learn another neighbor, a fellow Foreign Service officer, had been evacuated from their building and flown back to the United States for a thorough medical assessment, which soon determined that the person in question was suffering from “mild traumatic brain injury.”
They gave him painkillers and Ambien but medevaced the FSO next door?
The State Department reportedly issued a statement but said it is unaware of any other cases — a point “strongly disputed by Lenzi, who insists he had repeatedly informed both the embassy in Beijing and State Department headquarters in Washington of his family’s predicament.” Lenzi, who has reportedly called for the resignation of the US Ambassador to Beijing told WaPo that the State Department “restricted his access to the building where he normally worked after he began to speak up more forcefully about the treatment of his family, essentially neutralizing his capacity to continue his work at the consulate”.
We understand that Mark Lenzi is a specialist who was assigned as a Security Engineering Officer (SEO) in Guangzhou until he and his family were evacuated from post. Given the reported restriction to post access for speaking out about this incident, this is a case that bears watching.
60Minutes notes that “for reasons that are unclear, the State Department is raising doubt about the other 14 China cases. Click here for the transcript of the State Department segment.
In addition to Mark Lenzi, also on camera were U.S. Commerce Department trade officer Catherine Werner, trade officer Robyn Garfield and wife Britta who were posted in Shanghai, and former NSA employee Mark Lenzi who believed that the weapon used is a radio frequency energy, in the microwave range.
A clue that supports that theory was revealed by the National Security Agency in 2014. This NSA statement describes such a weapon as a “high-powered microwave system weapon that may have the ability to weaken, intimidate, or kill an enemy over time without leaving evidence.” The statement goes on to say “…this weapon is designed to bathe a target’s living quarters in microwaves.” The NSA disclosed this in a worker’s compensation case filed by former NSA employee Mike Beck.
Also: “The State Department declined an interview, but in a statement to 60 Minutes it said, “We will continue to provide our colleagues the care they need, regardless of their diagnosis or the location of their medical evacuation.” A State Department official told us that the Cuba patients are victims of an attack. But State hasn’t made the same determination for the China patients. The department has asked the National Academies of Science to assist in the medical investigation.”
Mark Lenzi is a State Department security officer who worked in the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. He says that he and his wife began to suffer after hearing strange sounds in their apartment. https://t.co/x0xmYoMxJppic.twitter.com/q9ovc59fNy
Last spring, Mike Pompeo confirmed the case of Catherine Werner. The Penn study found her brain injuries matched the Cuba victims, but for unclear reasons, the State Department is raising doubt about the other 14 China cases, including that of Mark Lenzi https://t.co/BLezoR1c0Upic.twitter.com/WI7oZTeDxY
Robyn and Britta Garfield are among the 40 enrolled in the Penn study. They were posted with their children in Shanghai where Robyn worked as a trade officer. Britta’s symptoms included feeling paralyzed and their daughter was falling down https://t.co/MxOPkBUdugpic.twitter.com/EY6SdkDh6S
Lenzi's neighbor was Catherine Werner, who lived one floor up. She’s a U.S. Commerce Department trade officer who promoted American business from the Guangzhou Consulate. Her symptoms included throwing up and nosebleeds. Her dogs were throwing up blood https://t.co/GUZ9XaJ2f6pic.twitter.com/jNlvUlckdk
A State Department official told us that the Cuba patients are victims of an attack. But State hasn’t made the same determination for the China patients. If microwaves were used, intelligence sources said It could be more than one country is using them. https://t.co/KDZPGtsKC8
It was my privilege to swear-in the 26th U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia – Arthur B. Culvahouse. The U.S.-Australia alliance remains a vital key to ensuring peace, prosperity, & freedom throughout the world. pic.twitter.com/13alTBFghf
The State Department’sLevel 4 – Do Not Traveladvisory category is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.
As of January 4, 2019, there are eleven countries designated as Level 4 “do not travel” countries.
In Somalia, the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens due to the lack of permanent consular presence in the country.
In North Korea, the State Department says that the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in North Korea as it does not have diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea. Sweden serves as the protecting power for the United States in North Korea, providing limited emergency services. However, the North Korean government routinely delays or denies Swedish officials access to detained U.S. citizens.
In South Sudan, U.S. government personnel are under a strict curfew. The advisory says personnel “must use armored vehicles for nearly all movements in the city, and official travel outside Juba is limited. Due to the critical crime threat in Juba, walking is also restricted; when allowed, it is limited to a small area in the immediate vicinity of the Embassy and must usually be conducted in groups of two or more during daylight hours. Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in South Sudan.”
In Iraq, the U.S. government’s ability to provide routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens is “extremely limited.” On October 18, 2018, the Department of State ordered the temporary suspension of operations at the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah.
In Iran, the U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations. “The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iran. Switzerland serves as the protecting power for U.S. citizens in Iran, providing limited emergency services.”
In CAR, the U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens as U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization to travel outside the Embassy compound.
The U.S. Embassy in Damascus in Syria suspended its operations in February 2012. “The U.S. government does not have diplomatic or consular relations with Syria. The Czech Republic serves as the protecting power for the United States in Syria. The range of consular services that the Czech Republic provides to U.S. citizens is extremely limited, and the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Syria.”
In Mali, the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in the northern and central regions of Mali as U.S. government employees travel to these regions is restricted due to security concerns.
In Libya, the U.S. government is unable to provide emergency or routine assistance to U.S. citizens as the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli suspended its operations in July 2014.
In Afghanistan: The U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide routine and emergency services to U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is severely limited, particularly outside of Kabul. Evacuation options from Afghanistan are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and the volatile security situation. Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in Afghanistan. Unofficial travel to Afghanistan by U.S. government employees and their family members is restricted and requires prior approval from the Department of State. U.S. Embassy personnel are restricted from traveling to all locations in Kabul except the U.S. Embassy and other U.S. government facilities unless there is a compelling U.S. government interest in permitting such travel that outweighs the risk. Additional security measures are needed for any U.S. government employee travel and movement through Afghanistan.
The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a suspended its operations in February 2015. The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Yemen.
A tsunami hit the coastal areas around the Sunda Strait in Indonesia (between the islands of Java and Sumatra) on December 22, 2018. It affected the Pandeglang, South Lampung, and Serang districts (as well as the resort area of Anyer). As of this writing, the tsunami death toll is now 373, with 128 missing and 1,459 injured.
The Alert message is currently on travel.state.gov and the embassy’s website, but it is not pushed on to social media due to the government shutdown. The State Department’s deputy spox says that they “are not aware of any U.S. citizens directly affected, but stand ready to assist as needed.”
The Alert message suggests that for regular updates people should “follow the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya on Twitter and Facebook and the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta at Twitter and Facebook.” But those feed are no longer updated regularly due to the lapse in appropriation.
Our Foreign Service posts in Jakarta say “visit @StateDept for updates.” We note of only two official tweets to-date: one tweet from @TravelGov calling the tsunami a “Weather Alert” (though tsunami can be caused by weather when the atmospheric pressure changes very rapidly, this tsunami is believed to have been triggered by an underwater landslide caused by the eruption of the nearby Anak Krakatau volcano), and one tweet from the State Department through the deputy spox. While the multiple deaths and injuries in the Indonesia tsunami did not appear to include American citizens, disasters and calamities (besides the one unfolding in Washington, D.C.) could happen anytime.
See US Embassy Jakarta’s tweet:
One of the last few tweets sent by US Consulate Surabaya was about the tsunami before it announced that its Twitter feed will not be updated due to the lapse in appropriation.
The former strategic planner for the Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (R) cited a policy cable from 2013, adopted formally as guidance in the Foreign Affairs Handbook which explicitly states that overseas missions using social media “should continue to do so in a crisis.” https://fam.state.gov/FAM/10FAH01/10FAH010060.html …. He rightfully noted that we are at an era when gov’t communication via social media is expected, particularly from a US embassy during a crisis affecting its host country. We agree that the use of social media to facilitate emergency communications with the public must be a prime consideration, rather than an afterthought. Posts’s feeds were the first place we looked up when we saw the tsunami alert online. We are sure we’re not the only one looking for information.
Just as we were about to post this, Reuters is reporting that Italy’s Mount Etna, Europe’s highest and most active volcano, erupted on December 24, and causing the closure of Catania airport on Sicily’s eastern coast. The social media accounts of US Embassy in Rome and its constituent posts in Florence and Naples have not been updated since the government shutdown took effect on December 22. Consulate Milan appears to be updating with holiday tweets as of nine hours ago. There does not appear to be any update from @StateDept concerning the Etna eruption.