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Ukraine-Related Documents Obtained by American Oversight

“We obtained the first set of documents in response to our lawsuit against the State Department for records of communications with or about Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and his efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, as well as for records related to the recall of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Included in this release were records of March 2019 phone calls between Giuliani and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (p. 39), and an email in which then-Oval Office secretary Madeleine Westerhout helped put Giuliani’s assistant in touch with Pompeo (p. 55). Also in the production were letters outlining concerns over the press and administration attacks on Yovanovitch.”

Published: February 21, 2020, State Department Records of Ukraine-Related Communications “Records from the Department of State in response to American Oversight’s request for external communications with the president’s personal attorneys regarding efforts to influence the Ukrainian government to investigate the president’s political opponents. This production includes eight pages of emails relating to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s contacts with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in late March 2019.”

co-published on govdoc-l and freegovinfo.info.

Major News Organizations Protest Secy. of State Ditching Press

The Poynter Institute reports that bureau chiefs from major news organizations sent a letter to the State Department protesting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s decision to travel to Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo without any traveling press.

CNN’s Jake Tapper called the trip "insulting to any American who is looking for anything but a state-run version of events."

A dozen news organizations signed the letter including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the wire services, Fox News, CNN, NPR, the BBC, Voice of America, the Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, and the Agence France-Presse

New Mobile Resources From the State Department, NLM, and USDA

Here are links from INFOdocket.

New State Department”Smart Traveler”iPhone App Available

New State Department iPhone App Available

Travel info.
iPhone app; Free.

“Digitized Medical Books: National Library of Medicine Releases “Turning the Pages” iPad App”

Digitized Medical Books: National Library of Medicine Releases "Turning the Pages" iPad App

iPhone app; Free

“Food Safety Questions? USDA Releases Mobile Version of “Ask Karen” Virtual Assistant”

Food Safety Questions? USDA Releases Mobile Version of "Ask Karen" Virtual Assistant

Mobile Web; FREE

America.gov closed

State Department shifts digital resources to social media, By Alicia M. Cohn, The Hill (04/24/11).

With little fanfare, the State Department has abandoned America.gov — an ambitious digital project launched three years ago to promote Democracy abroad — and shifted its resources to social media projects.

The site, which provided original content translated into at least three languages besides English, “was meant to be a resource for cultural and policy information serving America’s interests abroad.”

An announcement at http://America.gov says, “This site is being archived…” but provides no further information on what that means and if content that was on the site will be preserved or made available to the public.

Hat tip to Benton’s Communications-Related Headlines!

Wikileaks releases 250k US State Department diplomatic cables

[UPDATE 11/30: More and more context and analysis is coming out daily. We’ll post links in the comments to stories of interest and would appreciate if readers would do the same. JRJ]

[Update 02/07/2011: I’d really like to know if any libraries are downloading and giving access to the cables. The best access I’ve seen so far is CableSearch. JRJ]

Wikileaks has just released its latest coordinated “radical transparency” document dump of 250,000+ US State Department diplomatic cables, with partnered coverage in the New York Times, Guardian and Der Spiegel (which also includes a cool visual interactive atlas of the cables). In addition, Wikileaks has expanded its partners to include El Pais and le Monde.

From wikileaks:

The cables, which date from 1966 up until the end of February this year, contain confidential communications between 274 embassies in countries throughout the world and the State Department in Washington DC. 15,652 of the cables are classified Secret.

The embassy cables will be released in stages over the next few months. The subject matter of these cables is of such importance, and the geographical spread so broad, that to do otherwise would not do this material justice.

The cables show the extent of US spying on its allies and the UN; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in “client states”; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; lobbying for US corporations; and the measures US diplomats take to advance those who have access to them.

From the NY Times story (actually day 1 of 9 days of coverage):

A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats…

The cables, a huge sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and some 270 embassies and consulates, amount to a secret chronicle of the United States’ relations with the world in an age of war and terrorism. Among their revelations, to be detailed in The Times in coming days:

¶ A dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel: Since 2007, the United States has mounted a highly secret effort, so far unsuccessful, to remove from a Pakistani research reactor highly enriched uranium that American officials fear could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device. In May 2009, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts because, as a Pakistani official said, “if the local media got word of the fuel removal, ‘they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,’ he argued.”

¶ Thinking about an eventual collapse of North Korea: American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North’s economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the American ambassador to Seoul. She told Washington in February that South Korean officials believe that the right business deals would “help salve” China’s “concerns about living with a reunified Korea” that is in a “benign alliance” with the United States.

¶ Bargaining to empty the Guantánamo Bay prison: When American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in Chinese Muslim detainees, cables from diplomats recounted. The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”

¶ Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government: When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered that he was carrying $52 million in cash. With wry understatement, a cable from the American Embassy in Kabul called the money “a significant amount” that the official, Ahmed Zia Massoud, “was ultimately allowed to keep without revealing the money’s origin or destination.” (Mr. Massoud denies taking any money out of Afghanistan.)

¶ A global computer hacking effort: China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported. The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.