Posted: 12:12 am ET
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Posted: 12:06 am ET
The Republic of Kyrgyzstan declared its independence from the Soviet Union on August 31, 1991. The United States recognized Kyrgyzstan’s independence on December 25, 1991. Diplomatic relations were also established on December 25, 1991, when President George H.W. Bush announced the decision in an address to the nation regarding the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The American Embassy in Bishkek was established on February 1, 1992, with Edmund McWilliams as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
This year, the Kyrgyz Republic celebrates its 25th Independence Day and 25 year of diplomatic relations with the United States. Below is Kyrgyz’s Salt Peanuts performing at the Kennedy Center on September 10. A shared love for jazz, have a listen — they’re awesome!
Posted: 4:40 am ET
We’re guessing the State Department’s deputy spox was already thinking of vacation when he did his briefing on Thursday. Still he was not on the beach yet, but on the podium when this happened.
Transcript via DPB, August 4, 2016:
MR TONER: Hi guys. Happy Thursday.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR TONER: And what makes it even more special is it’s a Thursday in August, which means tomorrow – everybody want to join with me?
QUESTION: No briefing —
MR TONER: True to our tradition, there will be – thank you, Matt – no briefing.
QUESTION: There will be one.
MR TONER: What was that, Said?
QUESTION: There will be a briefing. An old one.
MR TONER: An old briefing. (Laughter.) Anyway, welcome to the State Department. I think we have some interns in the back. Welcome. Good to see you in this exercise in transparency in democracy. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Is that what it is? (Laughter.) I thought it was a —
MR TONER: Sorry, I didn’t mean to break out in laughter. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I thought it was an exercise in spin and obfuscation.
MR TONER: All right. Can you tell this is my last briefing before vacation?
Folks, he needs that vacation, so give him a break, hookay?
Posted: 3:20 am ET
Are you planning a trip to Cuba? Here are five things you should know before you go; put together by US Embassy Havana:
Posted: 1:32 am ET
Below is a video from U.S. Embassy Warsaw featuring one of our consular officers driving around Poland in his Maluch, a Fiat 126 which was introduced at the Turin Auto show in 1972. The car was manufactured in Poland until 2000 and was exported to many Eastern bloc countries. In Poland, it is called called Maluch, which means “small one”, baby or toddler. It is known as kispolszki (“little Polish”) in Hungary, Bolha (“flea”) in Slovenia, Bambino in Germany, “Polaquito” in Cuba and Peglica (“little iron”) in Serbia.
This guy’s a natural, hey! The video has walk on parts by other embassy employees, as well as the Ambassador to Poland Paul Jones. We don’t speak Polish but it looks like he’s having fun explaining why he loves his red “baby.” Apparently the Poles love him–the video is all over the local news outlets. Already interviewed on the morning news, sounds like his language skills are also impressive. Luv the matching jacket, Dan!
Posted: 1:49 am ET
On June 2, State Department spokesperson, John Kirby sent a message to the staffers of the Bureau of Public Affairs concerning the deliberate tampering of a DPB video, an official State Department record. The message was sent on June 2 but is effective on June 1st upon its announcement at a morning meeting:
As you know, we learned that on at least one occasion this bureau edited a portion of the video of a daily press briefing before posting it to our YouTube channel and the Department’s website.
Upon learning of this, I immediately directed the video to be restored in its entirety with the full and complete copy that exists — and had existed since the day of the briefing — on the Defense Video and Imagery Distribution System website. I also verified that the full transcript of the briefing, which we also posted on the Department website, was intact and had been so since the date of the briefing.
To my surprise, PA did not have in place any rules governing this type of action. Now we do.
All video and transcripts from daily press briefings will be immediately and permanently uploaded in their entirety on publicly accessible platforms. In the unlikely event that narrow, compelling circumstances require edits to be made, such as the inadvertent release of privacy-protected or classified national security information, they will only be made with the express permission of the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and with an appropriate level of annotation and disclosure.
This new policy took effect yesterday. And I have tasked Susan Stevenson to lead an effort to create new language for the Foreign Affairs Manual to institutionalize this approach.
I know you share my commitment to transparency, disclosure and accountability. While the actions taken in relation to the editing of this video broke no protocol — since none existed — they clearly were not the appropriate steps to take.
I ask for your help going forward in ensuring that the content of any video or transcript from daily press briefings is not edited or altered in any way without my specific permission.
Thanks for all your hard work and dedication. We’re a great team with a great mission.
There’s nothing in this message that has not been reported in the press earlier but it iss worth noting what he says in this message. “I know you share my commitment to transparency, disclosure and accountability.”
But how can he know that?
Pardon for raining on a perfectly good message but since Mr. Kirby’s internal investigation is at a “dead end” and had not been able to determine who was responsible for this deliberate act — how can he know that everyone he’s writing to shares his “commitment to transparency, disclosure and accountability?” An official at the PA bureau directed the tampering of the video, we don’t know who or why but that individual has not come forward and is obviously not big on accountability. So, how can he says “I know ….?”
That’s quite a whodunit, hey?
Posted: 2:35 am ET
Via USCG Karachi/YouTube:
Posted: 2:06 am ET
The Zbigniew Brzezinski Annual Prize honors the legacy of Dr. Brzezinski by recognizing and promoting the importance of geostrategic thinking with a transcending moral purpose. It’s Inaugural Prize recipient is Robert M. Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense. Below is Mr. Gates lecture at CSIS on April 12, 2016. If you want to skip the intros and go directly to the lecture, it starts at the 13:25 mark. Don’t miss the Q&A starting at the 34:00 mark.