Aww — @StateDept Sends Official Take Down Request For April Fools’ Day Cable

Posted: 9:11 pm ET
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On April 1 at 1:48 pm ET, we posted Inside @StateDept: Leaked Cable Provides Guidance For ‘America First’ Cost Savings Initiatives to celebrate the time honored tradition of April Fools’ Day.

At 2:41 PM, an email was sent to this blog by the State Department’s acting director of press operations Mark Stroh (with courtesy copy to Rasheeda J Clements) with a request that we “immediately take down” the blog post. Apologies, we were out doing errands, and then we watched the most recent episode of “Scandal” so we did not see the two emails until now. But you guys, here is the first request:

From: Mark E Stroh <Stroh**@state.gov>
cc: Rasheeda J Clements <Clements**@state.gov>
Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 2:41 PM

Diplopundit,

You may or may not know that the cable posted at the link below is false, a forgery. This may be an April fool that you all have executed or one that was executed on you but either way we’d ask that you immediately take it down and note with a prominent correction that this was a forgery and not a real cable.

We thank you in advance for your immediate action in this regard.

https://diplopundit.net/2017/04/01/inside-statedept-leaked-cable-provides-guidance-for-america-first-cost-savings-initiatives/

Regards,

Mark
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

At 6:42 PM, a second request was sent asking that post be taken down and that we post a correction “IMMEDIATELY.”  It feels like the Bureau of Public Affairs with its ALL CAPS was shouting at us.  Please stop with the all caps, it hurts our ears!

Email: stroh**@state.gov
Website:
Comment: Diplopundit,

You may or may not know that the supposed State cable you posted today is false. Please take this down and post a correction IMMEDIATELY.

If you have any questions you can reach me at stroh**@state,gov
Time: April 1, 2017 at 6:42 PM
Contact Form URL: https://diplopundit.net/contact-us/
Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

 

Dear State Department, it’s one day a year. What happened to your tickle bones?

For the record, on April 1, 2013, we posted this “cable”: State Dept Issues New Guidance for 2013 Fourth of July Embassy Events – More Zombies, Please.  The zombies never complained.  In 2014, we announced a new set of State Department awards: State Department Issues Nomination Call For First Golden Gooseberry Awards.  Neither the State Department nor the Golden Gooseberry awardees complained.

We were asked a while back if we have ever received a take down from the State Department. Never once in the blog’s nine year history. Until now. But we have also penned previously that if we ever received a take down notice, we will publish it in full. And so just when we’re about to go on vacation, here we are.  We’d love to know which very senior people from the 7th Floor forgot to bring their humor machine to Foggy Bottom.  But congrats to the State Department’s new overlords tasked with supporting the principles of a free press and free expression. It must be um … hard when every day feels like April Fools’ Day.

#

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State Department Issues Nomination Call For First Golden Gooseberry Awards

— Domani Spero

Hollywood has the  Golden Raspberry Awards or Razzies for short, in recognition of the worst in film. The State Department now has the Golden Gooseberry Awards or the “Gozzies” in recognition of the worst performances of the year.  Below is the cable released to posts:

VZCZCXRO3921
RR RUEHIK
DE RUEHC #8174/01 2922053
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 012110Z APR 14
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO ALL DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 0428
RUEHRY/AMEMBASSY CONAKRY 0179
UNCLAS STATE 108174

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT, ABUD, AFIN, APER,
SUBJECT: CALL FOR NOMINATION- FIRST STATE DEPARTMENT ‘GOZZIES’ AWARDS

REF: STATE 015541

————–
Summary
————–

1. In response to a popular post on the Secretary’s Sounding Board, the State Department is pleased to announced the first call for the Golden Gooseberry Awards.  Nominations are due on the second week of November or the week immediately preceding the State Department’s Annual Awards (reftel), whichever is later.  Winners of the “Gozzies” Awards will be announced on or about April 1, 2015. End Summary.
—————–
Background
—————–
2.  On February 1, 2013, John F. Kerry was sworn in as the 68th Secretary of State of the United States, becoming the first sitting Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman to become Secretary in over a century. Following the tenure of two female secretaries of state and a most immediate predecessor who was popular and well-liked inside the building, Secretary Kerry, himself admitted, “I have big heels to fill.” To that end, Secretary Kerry wanted to ensure that some of the more popular initiatives and innovation started under the Clinton tenure continue.  For instance, the Secretary continue the tradition of “Meet and Greet” with embassy/consulate employees and families when he travel overseas.  Efforts on public outreach and social media engagement were expanded.  State’s bicycle to work program which resulted in showers for those who bike to work, and a monthly stipend for bike repairs and maintenance in lieu of the Government Metro Check subsidy was also given the nod.

3.  The employee “Sounding Board,” another innovation of former Secretary Clinton, is a visible platform for employee ideas and management response that Secretary Kerry’s team was interested in supporting boldly. On Secretary Kerry’s first week in Foggy Bottom, a request that the State Department needs its own version of the “Razzies” to recognize the worst performances was upvoted on the Sounding Board.   We listened, we asked questions, and we consulted with all stakeholders within the seven floors, the annexes and with employees in over 280 missions overseas.  Today, thirteen months after Secretary Kerry’s arrival in Foggy Bottom, the ‘Goozies’ Awards are finally here.  The ‘Gozzies’ are intended to serve as a reminder that the Secretary is listening, and that the worst performances will be held up as a teachable lesson on how not to behave as public leaders and servants.
—————————————————————————
GOZZIES AWARDS: ELIGIBILITY, CRITERIA, EXAMPLES
—————————————————————————

4.  Most Memorable HHE Shipper of the Year Award
Eligibility: All chief of mission employees who are in the rotational system and had to ship household effects. Nominations are welcome from post management, regional bureaus and State Department offices.
Criteria:  Selection will be based on (1) the most outrageous item shipped on HHE, (2) apportionment of blame to the General Services Office, (3) evidence of the degree of ignorance and idiocy demonstrated.  Names and supporting documents must be submitted online at state.gov/gozzies.
Example: An FSO shipped and stored 44 boxes of tiles, weighing 5,871 pounds as part of his household effects (HHE). FSO was advised that he owed $14,804.01 for packing, shipping, storage and repacking the tiles.  After filing a grievance, the Department later waived over $9,000 of this debt because FSO had not been timely notified of the disallowed items.

5. The Fair Share Escapee Award
Eligibility: All chief of mission employees who are subject to “Fair Share” requirement and have successfully evaded the rule for at least two assignment cycles. Nominations are welcome from  all direct-hire employees who have successfully concluded a tour in differential pay posts.
Criteria:  Fair Share rules require employees who are completing assignments to bid on differential pay posts if they have not served at a differential post during the eight years prior to their transfer eligibility date.  DS-6699, statement from DGHR, LinkedIn profiles, or Facebook posting indicating absence of differential post assignments in at least 9 years or more is required.  Names and supporting documents must be submitted online at state.gov/gozzies.
Example: See LinkedIn profiles and State Department bios.

6. Notoriously Disgraceful Conduct of the Year Award
Eligibility: All domestic and chief of mission employees of agencies. NDC is “that conduct which, were it to become widely known, would embarrass, discredit, or subject to opprobrium the perpetrator, the Foreign Service, and the United States.
Examples of such conduct include but are not limited to the frequenting of prostitutes, engaging in public or promiscuous sexual relations, spousal abuse, spousal harassment to facilitate a contested divorce, neglect or abuse of children, manufacturing or distributing pornography, entering into debts the employee could not pay, or making use of one’s position or immunity to profit or to provide favor to another (see also 5 CFR 2635) or to create the impression of gaining or giving improper favor.”
Criteria: No formal nominations required.  Incident reports from Police Department, Diplomatic Security, indictment from the Department of Justice or a viral hit would suffice.  For consideration, names and links must be submitted online at state.gov/gozzies.
Example: DS Agent Charged With “Notoriously Disgraceful Conduct” Gets Three Days Suspension

7. ‘Old School’ Screamer of a Boss Award
The new consensus among leaders and managers is that screaming and yelling alarms people, drives them away rather than inspire them, and hurts the quality of their work. This award recognizes an individual in international affairs responsible for repeatedly throwing nuclear bombs and leaving officer’s blood and dreams all over the wall.
Eligibility:  All employees of the Foreign Service and the Civil Service including Senior Foreign Service and Senior Executive Service serving domestically or abroad, are eligible.
Criteria: An employee or group of employees familiar with the nominee’s performance, including direct reports, task forces, working groups and country desks, may nominate candidates. Nominations, not to exceed three typewritten pages are to be submitted online to state.gov/gozzies.  Nominees responsible for multiple curtailments from posts or early retirements/resignations of generalists/specialists from the Foreign Service will receive extra consideration.
Example: If your boss can scream like this, consider the submission of a nomination.

8.  The Consular Fraudster Award
This award recognizes criminal and unethical actions performed in conjunction with  consular work. It is inspired by the this consular officer jailed for visa fraud and bribery.
Eligibility: All domestic and chief of mission employees working in passport offices and consular sections
Criteria: No formal nominations required. Department of Justice indictment and plea agreement and/or jail term acceptable. Names and links must be submitted online at state.gov/gozzies.

9.  Department appreciates your full cooperation. As always, thank you for all that you do and for being part of this extraordinary team.  Questions, clarifications, suggestions for additional awards may be submitted online at state.gov/gozzies.

BT

 

Amazing! Kudos to Secretary Kerry and his team. And here we thought bureaucratic life must be quiet boring.  An agency official speaking on background emphasized that the “Gozzies” are the first of its kind in the Federal government and that a half dozen additional awards will be rolled out after the summer rotation.

Well, what are you waiting for?

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Earth Embassy Ganymede Administrative Notice #04-010103: Morale, WD-40, Duct Tape

— Domani Spero

Originally posted in Diplopundit on April 18, 2013. Republished today for a very good reason.

Administrative Notice #05-011300: Morale

It has come to management’s attention that there has been a lot of chatter and hyperspace email about morale and safety at this outpost.  This notice serves as a reminder to everyone under Ganymede outpost authority that discussion about morale is an unproductive use of work time. Morale is self-esteem in action; individuals who perceived that morale is lacking may need help in improving their self-esteem. Please make every effort to schedule an appointment to see the quadrant psychiatrist.

Ganymede management fully believes, like the 34th American President Dwight Eisenhower, that the best morale exist when you never hear the word mentioned. In that sprit, management formally informs all departments and employees that morale is not/not an issue and is not/not a subject to be discussed in hypermail, text, video, radio, verbal or any alternate manner of communication within and outside the mission.  Anyone caught peddling these stories will be subject to disciplinary action, including but not limited to curtailment of current assignment or a lengthy TDY to the outermost prograde moon of Carpo.

In an effort to be responsive to all concerns, below are some FAQs that the section  had the pleasure of addressing the last 12 moons. We hope that the answers are useful to you and your families and help alleviate persistent concerns.

English: WD-40

English: WD-40 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
EaEmbassy Ganymede

Is Ganymede a family-friendly post?

Absolutely. It is the most family-friendly assignment in the quadrant with excellent schools and some of the best apartments available in the sector. Living conditions are approximated to be similar to the home planet and the quality of life is super-excellent.  Consistent demand for assignments to this outpost has repeatedly resulted in a long wait list at every rotation cycle.

I’ve been thinking of asking for a transfer to Ganymede.  But I heard that life there is a big joke … I don’t get what’s the joke.

Life in Ganymede is not/not a big joke. Once you understand that Ganymede is too big to fail, you’ll find your groove. This is the place where you want to be.  No other outpost will afford you the challenges and opportunities to excel and earn a fast-tracked promotion.

How safe is Ganymede given that riots are breaking out in all parts of the hostplanet:

Safe. Very safe, if you’re careful.

Ganymedeans breached the outpost walls, they can do it again, should I worry?

There’s no reason to worry.  Ganymedeans are not/not anti-Earthlings, anti-humans or what have you.  They were blowing off steam. Period. Now that they have, things should return to normal. If you think things have not returned to normal, give it time; things should return to normal. Soon.

There are assaults reported daily, it sounds like traveling around the hostplanet has become extremely dangerous. Is that perception correct?

Ganymede is the largest moon in this sector. Like any large, densely inhabited city on Earth (e.g. New York City, New Delhi, Bogota, Buenos Aires), crime is ever present. This is not/not unique to this outpost.  Travel in pairs if needed, and bring your stun gun, if necessary.

The Manager for Planetary Services reportedly quit over extreme bureaucratic bullying, is this true?

Absolutely not. The manager quit because the official got too old for the job. Other employers in this sector throw old officials out the airlock. Fortunately, EaEmbassy Ganymede has a generous separation package specifically for older workers traveling back to the home planet.

There are rumors and allegations that some of the top Ganymede officials have, on several occasions, pushed and bossed around subordinates and threatened them with penalties. How accurate are these stories?

Have you ever heard of American poet, Robert Frost?  He said that the reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.  Isn’t that an excellent point?  Stop listening to rumors. Stop worrying. All our top Ganymede officials were handpicked and subjected to a battery of reviews and 360 feedbacks from friends, peers, and colleagues. All with spectacular results. They are all as lovable and huggable as Alaskan polar bears.

I used to have an open mind, then I got to Ganymede and my brains kept falling out. What am I doing wrong?

To keep an open mind, a person needs only two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn’t, use the tape. This works even in Ganymede.

I am terribly upset that my concerns have not been taken seriously.  How do I set a laser printer to stun?

The management office works hard to address all of your concerns and aims to make every assignment to Ganymede a satisfying one.   Unfortunately, all laser printer at post at this time do not have a stun setting.  However, the procurement section is exploring the possibility of adding a stun setting to all laser printers with end of year funding.

 

Note that this is from a work in progress.  Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Morale is self-esteem in action,  is a quote by Avery Weisman; WD-40 and laser printer quips are found items around the net.

Ugh! Just saw that the Russians are interested on Ganymede, now.  Well, dammit, I am not changing my fictional embassy’s name again, so don’t write to complain about that.

 

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Bolivia Seizes Suspicious Weapons From US Embassy Vehicle, Claims Unauthorized Test of Alien Technology

On early Saturday, members of Bolivia’s Mobile Rural Patrol Unit seized a Nissan Trail X car, with a diplomatic plate 27-MI-30 which belong to the US Embassy in Bolivia.  Local authorities informed the media that the vehicle was transporting U.S.-made 12-mm Remington shotguns, a .38 Smith & Wesson special revolver, five boxes with 2,350 .38 rounds of ammunition and other suspicious weapons which include two flashbang bra holsters, and what appears to be one weapon similar in appearance to an AMR-B21 Arc Generator, also known as Mulcher, an extraterrestrial weapon shown in District 9.

Photo from Flashbang Women's Holster

AMR-B21 Arc Generator

The US Embassy said in a brief statement that it has an agreement with the GOB to transport weapons to protect its facilities.  It denies the existence of suspicious weapons testing alien technology. It also reiterates that it is working with the Government of Bolivia to resolve this issue expeditiously and avoid further escalation of an already rocky relationship.

Interior Minister Carlos Romero said that it is weird that the Embassy, which claimed to have authorization from the police, does that kind of transaction at dawn. “We want to inform that no agreement has been processed by the Bolivian government, which has empowered the Foreign Ministry to generate this kind of accord,” Romero said in a joint press conference with Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra.

An unnamed witness who was using an open air toilet at dawn has come forward to inform authorities of what he saw the morning before the vehicle was seized by police. Confidential police sources indicate that the witness is still in shocked from the incident. Apparently, the witness could not stop talking about the embassy vehicle suddenly turning into a cow, and then back again into a vehicle and again into a cow.  He told the police that he fainted in fear.   The Bolivian Police  who has also impounded the embassy vehicle is reportedly considering the possibility that the vehicle is equipped with an invisibility cloak that makes it appear like a cow. Farmers are now afraid to milk their cows.  The Bolivian Government is recommending that milking cows be suspended until further notice.  As for the rest of the suspicious weapons seized, sources are mum as police and top scientists have yet to find the weapon switch.

Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales who is in constant communication with the ongoing investigation has stern warnings for the Americans:

“If the US embassy continues bothering Bolivia and our cows, as it is doing now, and if it continues to export alien technologies that we do not understand, then it is best we close the United States embassy in Bolivia because we are anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, anti-neoliberals and anti-alien technology.  Yanqui go home! We do not want you testing your ray guns here or bothering our cows.”

Reporting from La Paz

Domani Spero