Sec State Pompeo now engaged in shuttle diplomacy with the country of Iowa https://t.co/kyRk66MLGt
— Jason Lyall (@jaylyall_red5) July 19, 2020
Wait, what? https://t.co/CJzk8XQHPp
— Diplopundit #WearAMask (@Diplopundit) July 19, 2020
More of that purely apolitical travel on the taxpayer's dime that is not an ongoing scandal https://t.co/LYnTyugeQp
— Daniel Larison (@DanielLarison) July 17, 2020
Pompeo is in Iowa to speak with Christian leaders and farmers, the latest domestic trip to fuel suspicion that he’s using his job to lay the groundwork for a future campaign https://t.co/XoXcFSVyPd
— Bloomberg Politics (@bpolitics) July 17, 2020
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) July 18, 2020
New: Pompeo is going back to Iowa next month.
“I am one of those who would be very high on Secretary Pompeo & his future,” Bob Vander Plaats of @theFAMiLYLEADER tells me. “He is girded w/ the right stuff if he wants to take the next step. But we have not discussed that at all." https://t.co/HE7nSBu6Nj
— Kylie Atwood (@kylieatwood) February 20, 2020
Sonora state’s health minister Enrique Clausen: "It’s so important to implement the necessary measures to protect the health of Sonorans. And one of them, at this moment, has to be reducing the border crossings from the United States toward Mexico” https://t.co/j5lu9qIndQ
— Hunter Schwarz (@hunterschwarz) July 3, 2020
Five Americans who flew by private jet to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia were refused entry to Italy on Wednesday due to new EU travel restrictions on countries with high coronavirus infection rates, police say https://t.co/TleSwZWc8o
— CNN International (@cnni) July 3, 2020
US included on England's Covid-19 'red list' for travellers https://t.co/iNHsjfhVEx
— The Guardian (@guardian) July 3, 2020
— Mark Landler (@MarkLandler) July 3, 2020
#Iceland: On July 1 Iceland eased its travel ban to allow entry for citizens of some countries, but the US is not included. U.S citizens are not able to enter Iceland until further notice. See the announcement here: https://t.co/XdkFLfbzx7 https://t.co/QkcucRW0Gz pic.twitter.com/4ZvMJPgHuI
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) July 2, 2020
As expected, the EU will still ban US travelers* when it lifts international travel restrictions July 1.
*Countries can decide individually whether to implement that ban. Greece & Iceland previously said they’ll reopen to Americans, but who knows now. https://t.co/tHyzVa6kF5
— Kyle Potter (@kpottermn) June 26, 2020
Stunning fact: Not even one single developed country has >1000 COVID cases per day. We have >50,000 per day in the United States.
— Vincent Rajkumar (@VincentRK) July 3, 2020
Trump is turning US into the ‘Shithole Country’ he fears. His mindless nationalism has come to this: Americans are not welcome in Europe or Mexico. The numbers of US sick and dead inspire wonder, marvel, fear, anxiety all over the world
By @anneapplebaum https://t.co/4dGwkJZHDk
— Alfons López Tena (@alfonslopeztena) July 3, 2020
Via Just Security:
“…The past three years in the United States have witnessed a concentration of discretionary authority in the hands of the president, the dismantling of the federal government’s institutional resources, and a degeneration of policy and budgeting into a short-term horizon focusing exclusively on immediate political gain — and often on croneyist profit. We did not need to be inside the room with John Bolton to see how de-institutionalized governance and discretionary power yield a “caudillo” or despotic style that would reduce democracy to little more than a show, with the claim that elections are periodically held.
Across five key dimensions, the result is a loss of capacity and direction that future administrations will struggle to restore. The Trump administration’s assault on state competence, in favor of freewheeling dominance by individual executive discretion, threatens the United States with an erosion of democracy that echoes the populist cascade in Hungary, India, Turkey, Brazil, the Philippines — unfortunately, the list goes on.
…change in the very nature of political practice far exceeds any easily identified policy demarcations. We have begun to see the unwinding of modern America. The effects will not simply evaporate when Trump leaves office. Lasting damage has been done to public trust in democratic institutions, the status of news media, the respect for science and proof, and more. Putting our political culture and democratic system back together will require more than mere policy repair.”
Read in full below:
Comparative law scholar and historian: Trump’s damage to democratic institutions won't vanish when Trump leaves office.
— Just Security (@just_security) July 1, 2020
Remember in 2017 when Trump announced new security measures that establish minimum requirements for international cooperation to support U.S. visa and immigration vetting and new visa restrictions for eight countries? One of those eight countries was Chad. BuzzFeed reported at that time: ” Experts from the State Department to humanitarian organizations were stunned when the Chad was added to the travel ban in late September. The country is home to a US military facility and just hosted an annual 20-nation military exercise with the US military’s Africa Command to strengthen local forces to fight extremist insurgents. Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, is the headquarters of the five-country Multinational Joint Task Force battling Boko Haram.”
In response to travel ban, Chad withdrew hundreds of troops from neighboring Niger, where up to 2,000 of its soldiers were part of a coalition battling Boko Haram. See Avoidable Mess: U.S. to Help Chad After “Important Partner” Withdraws Troops From Niger Following Visa Sanctions.
At that time, we also wrote that “the USG’s action telegraphed careless disregard of the relationship, and Chad most likely, will not forget this easily. “Remember that time when the U.S. put Chad on the visa sanctions list while we have 2,000 soldiers fighting in Niger?” Yep, they’ll remember.”
Maybe this is just coincidence, but here we are:
On March 26, 2020, the US Embassy in Ndjamena, Chad announced that the U.S. Embassy “received information on a possible flight that could leave as early as tomorrow” and that “the flight will be making other stops in Africa before going to Washington, DC.”
On March 27, Embassy Ndjamena announced that “There will not be a flight leaving Chad tomorrow, Friday March 27. We have no further information on when a flight will be available, but efforts continue.”
Later on March 27, Embassy Ndjamena announced that the U.S. Embassy “was informed that there will be a flight on Sunday for U.S. citizens to depart Chad. The Embassy has also been informed that there will be a very limited number of seats available, with limited luggage, and no pets. We have no information about any other future flights.”
Update #4 on March 27 notes that “The U.S. Embassy manifested a limited number of passengers for the flight on Sunday. Unfortunately, if you did not receive an email stating that you had been manifested, there were not enough seats to allocate one for you.”
By March 27, that flight was off again, and the embassy announced that “The U.S. Embassy regrets to inform U.S. citizens that Sunday’s flight has been cancelled because the Chad MFA denied the request for flight clearance.”
On March 29, Embassy Ndjamena said “There are no updates to report on flights to depart Chad.”
On March 30, the announcement said, “There are no updates to report on flights to depart Chad.”
On March 30, update #6 said, “There are no updates to report on flights to depart Chad, although efforts continue.”
On March 31, the statement remains “There are no updates to report on flights to depart Chad, although efforts continue.”
On March 31, update #7 said: There are now 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chad. There are no updates to report on flights to depart Chad, although efforts continue.”
As of this writing, the latest update posted online is dated March 31, 2020, 11:00 WAT: ” There are now 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chad. There are no updates to report on flights to depart Chad, although efforts continue.
Chad is a Level 3 Reconsider Travel country since October 2019 “due to crime, terrorism, and minefields.” The advisory also notes that “The U.S. Government has extremely limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Chad as U.S. Government employees must obtain special authorization to travel outside of the capital, including the Lake Chad Basin.”
Below via Diplomatic Security’s 2020 Safety and Security Report for Chad:
The U.S. Department of State has assessed N’Djaména as being a HIGH-threat location for terrorism directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. The potential exists for terrorist activity throughout Chad. Violent extremist organizations (e.g. Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, ISIS-Libya, and al-Qa’ida-affiliated groups) can easily cross borders and target Westerners, local security forces, and civilians in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel.
The U.S. Department of State has assessed N’Djaména as being a HIGH-threat location for political violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Chad’s recent history is one of political tensions, rebellions, and coup attempts. The current Chadian government has a strong executive branch, headed by President Idriss Déby Itno and dominated by his Zaghawa ethnic group, which controls the political landscape.
Border security remains elevated. Chad’s borders with Libya and Sudan are generally off-limits without specific permission from the Government of Chad. The Chad-Libya border is an active conflict zone. New mines may have been laid in secondary roads in 2019, and unexploded ordnance (UXO) remains from the Chad-Libya conflict.
Medical care is limited within N’Djaména, and difficult to find outside of major cities. Chad has limited and extremely expensive public ambulance services. In case of emergency, consider transporting the patient with private vehicles.
The Chadian government and people are generally friendly towards U.S. citizens, but violent extremist groups in the Lake Chad region and the Sahel have expressed or signaled their intention to target Westerners.
As far as we are aware, US Embassy Ndjamena is not on any type of evacuation status (with the exception of the Global Authorized Departure issued on March 14). But even if it were to go on ordered departure now, the flights are not going anywhere.
- Alert: Update #7 – 2 new cases, no flight update (31 March, 2020)
- Alert: Update #7 – 2 new cases, total now 7, no flight updates (31 March, 2020)
- Alert: Departure Information Update #6 – no flight updates (31 March, 2020)
- Alert: Departure Information Update #6 (30 March, 2020)
- Message to U.S. Citizens (March 30, 2020) (30 March, 2020)
- Alert – U.S. Embassy, N’Djamena, Chad – No update on flight status (29 March, 2020)
- Alert: Updated Departure Information #5 – Sunday’s Flight Cancelled (27 March, 2020)
- Alert: Updated Departure Information #4 (27 March, 2020)
- Updated Departure Information #3 – Flight on Sunday, very few seats (27 March, 2020)
- Alert: Updated Departure Information #2 (26 March, 2020)
- Alert: READ CAREFULLY – UPDATED DEPARTURE INFORMATION #1 (26 March, 2020)
- Alert – U.S. Embassy N’Djamena, Chad: Updates on Departures From Chad (25 March, 2020)
- Avoidable Mess: U.S. to Help Chad After “Important Partner” Withdraws Troops From Niger Following Visa Sanctions Oct 2017
- @StateDept Dedicates New $225M U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena, Chad Oct 2017
- Trump Announces New Visa Restrictions For Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, Somalia Sept 2017
- @StateDept Terminates US Embassy Chad’s Authorized Departure Status Nov 2015
- US Embassy N’Djamena: Travel Restrictions and Security Review in Chad Jul 2015
- US Embassy N’Djamena Imposes Travel Restrictions on Embassy Staff After Suicide Bombings in Chad June 2015
- US Embassy Chad Imposes Curfew, Limits Travel For All USG Personnel in N’Djamena June 2014
“Your previous article has really stirred things up …. a lot of retaliation against who people think might have written you…which is now a large group of suspects…”
Update 1:14 PDT: US Embassy Pretoria’s meltdown (see below)
We’ve explained previously about evacuations in the State Department’s Foreign Service posts (see New Travel Advisories and Voluntary/Mandatory Departures: Micronesia (L3), Tajikistan (L3), Mongolia (L4)).
Authorized departure is an evacuation procedure, short of ordered departure, by which post employees and/or eligible family members are permitted to leave post in advance of normal rotation when U.S. national interests or imminent threat to life requires it. Departure is requested by the chief of mission (COM) and approved by the Under Secretary for Management (M). The incumbent to this office is Brian Bulatao.
Ordered departure is an evacuation procedure by which the number of U.S. government employees, eligible family members, or both, at a Foreign Service post is reduced. Ordered departure is mandatory and may be initiated by the chief of mission or the Secretary of State. Posts with very few exceptions, report to their regional or geographic bureaus headed respectively by an Assistant Secretary, a Senate confirmed position.
As we’ve watched this pandemic unfold at home, we’ve also watched the State Department’s troubling response to it, particularly at overseas posts and in its public communication.
Update: On March 20, US Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks reportedly held a “town hall” meeting for staff members “after mounting complaints from employees that she had refused to self-quarantine or take other protective measures, according to accounts of the meeting provided to The Washington Post by people familiar with it.” She apparently “attended a dinner at President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club with Brazilian officials who later tested positive for the novel coronavirus. But she told her State Department employees she did not consider herself at risk because the dinner was outside and she believed the virus could not withstand the Florida heat.” A second hand source with extensive sources told us “Embassy Pretoria is in meltdown.”
Recently, we heard about Post 1 in Africa that just went into ordered departure. We understand that employees were hoping to get on to what is being called “the last Air France flight.” We were told that what happens if/after they arrive in Paris is “unknown.”
Then we received a howler from Post 2 in Africa: “They’ve shut the airport here. And closed the borders in [XXX]. No one gives AF about AF. Authorized Departure, yes. But flights were full or cancelled so that didn’t leave much room for options. No one in DC, to include S, gives AF about AF.”
We understand that this particular post was given the option to evacuate but “there’s no consensus” from the AF bureau if they’re going to authorize “ordered departure.” Post has sent a request but no response from D.C. — “they’re dragging their feet.”
Source from Post 2 says that they were given a 24-hour window for voluntary departure but then the border to [the neighboring country] had closed as well, and that also cuts off supplies for their host country.
“And as you know, people get crazy if they can’t get food or supplies.”
Source from Post 2 further writes “I don’t know how many more EACs and thresholds they want to cross before they say you’re on OD [ordered departure]. And – we are on staggered shifts so teleworking and not really getting anything done.”
Post 2 also says that “A lot of us are worried because of the optics on a lot of the confirmed cases on the continent – they’re all foreigners.” That’s a real worry given what’s happening in Ethiopia and Cameroon.
On March 18, the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia issued a Security Alert on Reports of Anti-Foreigner Sentiment:
The Embassy continues to receive reports regarding a rise in anti-foreigner sentiment revolving around the announcement of COVID-19 in Ethiopia. Typical derogatory comments directed at foreigners, the terms “China” and “Ferengi” (foreigner), have been reportedly coupled with the label “Corona,” indicating a disparaging view on the link between the outbreak of COVID-19 and foreigners in Ethiopia. Incidents of harassment and assault directly related to COVID-19 have been reported by other foreigners living within Addis Ababa and other cities throughout the country. Reports indicate that foreigners have been attacked with stones, denied transportation services (taxis, Ride, etc.), being spat on, chased on foot, and been accused of being infected with COVID-19.”
On March 19, the US Embassy in Cameroon issued a similar Security Alert:
The Embassy has received reports regarding a rise of anti-foreigner sentiment revolving around the announcement of the spread of COVID-19. Incidents of harassment and assault directly related to COVID-19 have been reported by U.S. citizens and other foreigners in both Yaounde and Douala. Reports include verbal and online harassment, stone throwing, and banging on vehicles occupied by expatriates.
During the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the attack on one of the Ebola Treatment Centers in February 2019 was preceded by a change in public behavior toward the Medicins sans Frontiers (MSF) team. “On February 17, residents began shouting “Ebola, Ebola, Ebola” at the MSF team. Simultaneously, there was a marked drop in suspected cases referred to the ETC. The ETC had been receiving 35 to 40 suspected Ebola cases a week. However, on the day before the attack, only 1 suspected Ebola case was referred, and on the day of the attack, only 2. Rumors about foreigners experimenting on locals, taking organs, and filling the bodies with concrete and Ebola being a fabrication were also circulating.”
Our Post 2 source says that “We knew what we signed up for. This is an unprecedented time. But borders and airports closing is a bit of a game changer in these high threat posts. It would be wonderful to know there’s some sort of exit strategy. And there isn’t one when they shut down the borders and airports.”
For now other worries include the civil unrest that may occur if food and supplies are stopped; not having plans in place for medical evacuation if/when it becomes necessary; the fact that these places are austere in medical facilities to take care of their own people let alone handling a car accident or malaria; that the guards are wonderful and in place, but you know, for how long?
There are worst case scenarios that we’re not going to spell out here but we’re sure the AF bureau and all posts in Africa are aware of them. It can’t be that no one has thought about what to do with posts in Africa during a pandemic.
Is there a pandemic plan for FS posts somewhere in Foggy Bottom’s vaults? What are their plans for post operations, repatriation of employees/family members, protection of local employees, or continuity of operations during/after a pandemic. Have they simply brushed off the shelf the Bush Administration’s old ‘
stay remain in country/shelter in place’ policy during a pandemic without telling anyone?
273 confirmed #COVID19 cases in Africa in 26 countries and 6 deaths. Over the weekend, Central African Republic, Eswatini, Rep of Congo, Rwanda, Seychelles announced first cases. @WHO is supporting countries with surveillance, diagnostics and treatment. https://t.co/V0fkK8dYTg pic.twitter.com/U4CbMGidSO
— WHO African Region (@WHOAFRO) March 15, 2020
Security Alert: Reports of Anti-Foreigner Sentiment U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia #COVID19 https://t.co/gLqnVq4Pvk From US Embassy Addis: "Reports indicate that foreigners have been attacked with stones, denied transportation services (taxis, Ride, etc.) https://t.co/hntHlMq3Zw pic.twitter.com/p0C1tB3Pad
— Aly-Khan Satchu (@alykhansatchu) March 19, 2020
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) March 17, 2020
The Danish Atlantic Council released a statement announcing the cancellation of its international conference on NATO and transatlantic cooperation after the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark
@USAmbDenmark Carla Sands “did not want” the keynote speaker’s participation. Sands is a political appointee, and one of Trump’s top donors. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by voice vote in November 2017 (see PN1012).
The invited speaker Stanley Sloan (@srs2_) is a Visiting Scholar in Political Science at Middlebury College and a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Scowcroft Center of the Atlantic Council of the United States.
Mr. Sloan has now released a brief statement about this debacle and also provided a link to the draft of the address he would have delivered at the event:
The Danish Atlantic Council had invited Stanley R. Sloan to give a keynote address at their conference celebrating NATO’s 70th anniversary on 10 December. The conference was co-sponsored and heavily funded by the US Department of State. Just days before the conference, the US Ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands, ordered the Council to remove Sloan from the program. The form of censorship by the US government is a dramatic change from past practice, when the US Public Diplomacy program provided a variety of American views to foreign audiences, in many ways demonstrating the strength of American democracy. For those who are interested in what Sloan would have said at the meeting, check out the draft as it stood before the Embassy’s veto: “Crisis in transatlantic relations: what future will we choose?”
US Embassy Denmark has taken to Twitter to defend its role in the cancellation of the event:
In our planning for the Seminar as co-hosts and co-sponsors, the U.S. Embassy and
@AtlantDK had jointly agreed on a program of speakers with a wide range of views on the Alliance.
Mr. Stanley Sloan’s proposed last-minute inclusion in the program by
@AtlantDK did not follow the same deliberative process of joint decision-making and agreement that we followed when recruiting all other speakers.
The U.S. Embassy will continue to support future programs to strengthen security cooperation and people-to-people ties.
We laughed so hard we fell off our chair! We all know that “deliberative” and “process” have both been left to bleed all over the white carpet. We can see the stains on the official burial; the embassy, unfortunately, thought we could not.
US ambassador bans Trump critic from event. "The US embassy demanded that he be removed as a speaker.” https://t.co/PsyQL57WxQ
— Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) December 8, 2019
This event would have provided speakers and attendees an important opportunity to exchange views on security cooperation and strengthening #NATO for the future.
— U.S. Embassy Denmark (@usembdenmark) December 8, 2019
After serious consideration, we have decided not to proceed with the Conference. The progress of the process has become too problematic; and therefore, we cannot participate in the Conference, let alone ask our Speakers to participate. @AtlantDK @srs2_ https://t.co/HvogtkOJJO
— Lars Bangert Struwe (@LarsBStruwe) December 8, 2019
Leaving for #Copenhagen tomorrow to give a keynote talk Tuesday at the Danish Atlantic Council's celebration of #NATO's 70th anniversary. Topic of my presentation: "Crisis in transatlantic relations: what future will we choose?" @AtlanticCouncil @AtlantDK @ducoexperts @jteurope
— Stanley R. Sloan – Defense of the West (@srs2_) December 7, 2019
I am overwhelmed by the support I have been receiving after my participation in celebration of NATO's 70th anniversary was vetoed by the American Ambassador to Denmark. In the interest of free speech, you can see the draft of my intended lecture here: https://t.co/S2eiZ9J5yy
— Stanley R. Sloan – Defense of the West (@srs2_) December 7, 2019
This what a thin-skinned authoritarian government that need a safe space does. US #publicdiplomacy historically intentionally included differences of opinion to reflect principles of free speech. The beacon on the hill is now a searchlight to spot and silence dissent? https://t.co/PQ566qQJ3t
— Matt Armstrong (@mountainrunner) December 8, 2019
On Sunday, September 8, a massive crowd of pro-democracy protesters marched to the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong seeking support from the U.S. Congress to pass H.R.3289 – Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.
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.”
There is also related bill in the U.S. Senate, the S.1838 Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, introduced on June 13, 2019 by Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL]. The bill with nine co-sponsors has been read twice and referred to the Foreign Committee on Foreign Relations (SFRC).
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.
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) September 9, 2019
Thousands of protesters march to U.S. Consulate to demand the congress to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. #hongkongprotests #antielab #standwithhk #freehk pic.twitter.com/U7yQC6e5zO
— Jessie Pang (@JessiePang0125) September 8, 2019
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 New York Times (@nytimes) September 8, 2019
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
— Ramy Inocencio 英若明 (@RamyInocencio) September 8, 2019