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Blackwater threatened to kill State Department investigator

Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007 (Previously on Metafilter), the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq”. Embassy officials ordered the investigators to leave Iraq immediately, and no charges were ever pressed. [more inside]
posted by anemone of the state on Jun 29, 2014 - 65 comments

"A culture of dissent must be nurtured and protected if it is to thrive"

The United States' National Security organization has many parts, from the famous (NSA, CIA) to the mundane (OCI, NGA) to the more esoteric (NRO, CSS). But even the most dedicated Washington insider may not have heard of INR. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 26, 2013 - 21 comments

De-listing of the MEK

The Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), or People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, is an Iranian dissident group that has been formally designated for the last 15 years by the US State Department as a "foreign terrorist organization". When the Bush administration sought to justify its attack on Iraq in 2003 by accusing Saddam Hussein of being a sponsor of "international terrorism", one of its prime examples was Iraq's "sheltering" of the MEK. Its inclusion on the terrorist list has meant that it is a felony to provide any "material support" to that group. Now, in the with the support of A-list American politicians who have been handsomely compensated for their efforts, the MEK are being delisted. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Sep 24, 2012 - 41 comments

@Ambassador

'E-Diplomacy map shows which leaders talk to each other on Twitter. AFP news agency releases interactive tool showing how Twitter plays out globally,' from Ars Technica [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 11, 2012 - 4 comments

Major Breakthrough in North Korean-U.S. Diplomacy

In a surprise announcement this week North Korea agreed to halt nuclear weapons tests, enrichment of uranium and long-range-missile launches and allow the return of international inspectors in exchange for a pledge of "no harmful intent" and 240,000 metric tons of food aid from the U.S. The announcement is seen as a major breakthrough by the State Department after years of stalled negotiations and the first major foreign policy action by Kim Jong-un. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Mar 1, 2012 - 119 comments

State's Secrets

WikiLeaks has released 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables. Browse the database at the Guardian. Comprehensive coverage is also available at the New York Times, Der Spiegel, and El Pais.
posted by lullaby on Nov 28, 2010 - 671 comments

"This human rights abuse is universal, and no one should claim immunity from its reach or from the responsibility to confront it."

This year, for the first time ever, the U.S. included itself in the State Department's annual report on human trafficking. Most Americans associate human trafficking with sexually exploited women and children, but the definition includes guest laborers who have been trapped into indentured servitude as well. "More investigations and prosecutions have taken place for sex trafficking offenses than for labor trafficking offenses, but law enforcement identified a comparatively higher number of labor trafficking victims as such cases often involve more victims.” The full report--with victim stories, "TIP Heroes," methodology, definitions, etc.--is here.
posted by availablelight on Jul 31, 2010 - 10 comments

Dipnote

Dipnote. Official weblog of the U.S. State Department. [more inside]
posted by brownpau on Sep 26, 2007 - 24 comments

Bush the Dissident

Bush the Dissident. (WaPo) Background (and previously) here here here here and here.
posted by Avenger on Aug 19, 2007 - 45 comments

Are you too loud? Or is it your suit?

Speak softly, don't argue and slow down' The reputation of the "Ugly American" abroad is not..... just some cruel stereotype, but - according to the American government itself - worryingly accurate. Now, the State Department has joined forces with American industry to plan an image make-over by issuing guides for Americans travelling overseas on how to behave.
posted by terrymiles on Apr 16, 2006 - 96 comments

The State Department vs. Misinformation

The State Department's campaign against misinformation and propaganda. Before you comment on the irony of it all, it is worth a read. Included are a careful, Snopes-like debunking of various rumors: Hugo Chavez's "Plan Balboa documents," the old 4,000 Jews and the WTC rumor, the use of chemical weapons in the Korean War, and some I hadn't heard of (the US to take over the rainforest?). Also information on how to spot disinformation, and attacks on the credibility of a few sites. Too bad that the US information services don't have the credibility they used to, but still worth reading.
posted by blahblahblah on Feb 5, 2006 - 14 comments

Human Trafficking

The 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report by the US State Department has been released. It reviews 150 countries.The introduction provides a broad overview of the report with anecdotal stories, legislation imperatives, methodology, definitions, specific country reviews and suggested remedies. It is a commendable document and well worth perusing. UN page. via
posted by peacay on Jun 7, 2005 - 2 comments

Lest we forget: Outsourcing Torture

Outsourcing Torture The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program.
posted by y2karl on Feb 8, 2005 - 16 comments

State Dept. Study Foresaw Trouble Now Plaguing Iraq

Beginning in April 2002, the State Department project assembled more than 200 Iraqi lawyers, engineers, business people and other experts... to study topics ranging from creating a new justice system to reorganizing the military to revamping the economy. Their findings included a much more dire assessment of Iraq's dilapidated electrical and water systems... warned... many Iraqis might react coolly to Americans' notion of quickly rebuilding civil society. Several officials said that many of the findings in the $5 million study were ignored by Pentagon officials until recently... The work is now being relied on heavily as occupation forces struggle to impose stability in Iraq.
posted by y2karl on Oct 20, 2003 - 9 comments

Spooks & State Took Dim View On Prospect For Iraqi Democracy

Democracy might be impossible, US was told
The CIA's March report concluded that Iraqi society and history showed little evidence to support the creation of democratic institutions, going so far as to say its prospects for democracy could be "impossible," according to intelligence officials who have seen it. The assessment was based on Iraq's history of repression and war; clan, tribal and religious conflict; and its lack of experience as a viable country prior to its arbitrary creation as a monarchy by British colonialists after World War I.
The State Department came to the same conclusion. "Liberal democracy would be difficult to achieve in Iraq," said a March State Department report, first reported by the Los Angeles Times. "Electoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements."

posted by y2karl on Aug 14, 2003 - 60 comments

The Motherland Speaks Back

Section VIII Double Standards in International Field of Human Rights

In retaliation to the annual report by the US state department critical of China’s current human rights record, China slings back with a report of its own, this time critical of the US for its human rights record.

Is this the superpower propagandist equivalent of schoolyard name calling, or does the Chinese report make some salient points, ones better left unsaid in the conquest of International Pax Americana
posted by jazzkat11 on Apr 3, 2003 - 13 comments

Welcome to the State Department... I mean, the Republican Party.

Welcome to the State Department... I mean, the Republican Party. "For some time, travelers browsing the State Department Web site for helpful tips about Guadalajara, Mexico, found much more than they bargained for when they clicked on a photograph of President Bush. The click transported them to a partisan playground, where they were told how to get involved with the Republican Party and even how to donate money to it." (Why does nytimes.com have all the good stories?- metafilter, metafilter)
posted by SandeepKrishnamurthy on Sep 13, 2002 - 11 comments

According to the US State Department's website, New Zealand citizen Mohammed Saffi was not in violation of his visa when intending to attend a Miami flight school for 727 aircraft engineering certification. At least that's what NZ Green Party foreign affairs spokesman Keith Locke says.
posted by sycophant on Jul 7, 2002 - 9 comments

"Rendition" is the State Department legal term for when they ship (its a lot like extradition minus due process ) Al Qaida/Taliban POWs to a friendly 3rd country such as Egypt or Jordan for questioning. "Why not just question them in Guantanamo" you ask? Thats because in some countries, interrogation is less regulated than it is on US soil. Neat, huh?
posted by BentPenguin on Mar 14, 2002 - 52 comments

The home page for the US State Department

The home page for the US State Department contains useful information, drug war propaganda, and a press release which made my day.
posted by whuppy on Jun 12, 2001 - 2 comments

Foreign Media Reaction.

Foreign Media Reaction. A regular report from the Office of Research of the US State Department which summarizes opinions, official and journalistic, on hot-button issues in newspapers around the world. Currently covers the Sino-American dogfight. Incredibly thorough. A good one to set up under an Internet Explorer subscription.
posted by Mo Nickels on Apr 5, 2001 - 2 comments

Diplomats in Love

Diplomats in Love
To have more fun at the State Department than this, you'd need a security clearance! Yuk yuk!
posted by rschram on Nov 11, 2000 - 0 comments

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