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Archive for August 2012

Travel Warning: Libya

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Libya on August 27.  It reads as follows:

Libya

August 27, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Libya. The incidence of violent crime, especially carjacking and robbery, has become a serious problem. In addition, political violence in the form of assassinations and vehicle bombs has increased in both Benghazi and Tripoli. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated September 22, 2011, and notes the resumption of full consular services to U.S. citizens on August 27, 2012.

Libyans cast ballots on July 7 in elections deemed to be free and fair according to election observers. Libya’s General National Congress replaced the Transitional National Council in August 2012 and will lead the country until elections are held on the basis of a new constitution. Despite this progress, violent crime continues to be a problem in Tripoli, Benghazi, and other parts of the country. In particular, armed carjacking and robbery are on the rise. In addition, political violence, including car bombings in Tripoli and assassinations of military officers and alleged former regime officials in Benghazi, has increased. Inter-militia conflict can erupt at any time or any place in the country. Seven Iranian Red Crescent officials were kidnapped July 31 in Benghazi by local militia members, and as of the date of this warning, they have not been released. There have also been several reports of militias briefly apprehending and detaining foreigners due to perceived or actual violations of Libyan law. The Embassy’s ability to intervene in such cases remains limited, as these groups are neither sanctioned nor controlled by the Libyan government.

U.S. Embassy Tripoli resumed full consular services for U.S. citizens in Libya on August 27, 2012.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

28/08/2012 at 13:37

Travel Warning: Pakistan

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Pakistan on August 27.  It reads as follows:

Pakistan

August 27, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Pakistan. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated February 2, 2012, to update information on security incidents and remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns in Pakistan.

Protests have taken place across Pakistan against the United States, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and NATO. There have also been widespread demonstrations and large political rallies condemning drone strikes, Pakistan’s ongoing energy crisis, and Pakistan’s July 3, 2012, decision to reopen NATO transit routes to Afghanistan. These protests and demonstrations are likely to continue. U.S. citizens in Pakistan are strongly urged to avoid protests and large gatherings. Read the rest of this entry »

Foreign Service Vacancy Announcements: IMS, IMTS/R, IMTS/T

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Three Foreign Service Specialist skill codes are now open for applications.

Information Management Specialist (until 9/19)

Information Management Technical Specialist/Radio (until 9/12)

Information Management Technical Specialist/Telephone (until 9/12)

All three of these skill codes fall under the Information Resource Management bureau, and support the Department of State’s most vital function: communication.  Candidates must be US Citizens at least 21 years of age but younger than 60, be worldwide available, able to obtain a medical clearance, and obtain a Top Secret security clearance.

Jet Lag Tips, Presidential Candidate Travel

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The New York Times has posted two travel-related articles on August 14th and 15th on beating jet lag and things the candidates can do to help the budget traveler.

As a pretty frequent jet setter, I disagree with the article on jet lag because Ambien works wonders.  The health concerns are certainly valid, but if you’re a Foreign Service Officer/Specialist that’s worldwide available, chances are you can handle an Ambien on that 18-hour flight to Canberra.  Otherwise, just tough out that first day/night in your new locale and you’ll be golden the next evening/day.  Been there, done that.

The candidate checklist is light on substance, but entertaining just the same.  Americans will never take well to the metric system, nor will they ever figure out tipping in foreign countries (hint: you usually don’t have to, unless you’re in a country so poor that the native population knows you can afford it).

Written by OSB

15/08/2012 at 15:48

Travel Warning: Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza on August 10.  It reads as follows:

Israel, the West Bank and Gaza

August 10, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to U.S. interests in those locations. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to remain mindful of security factors when planning travel to Israel and the West Bank and to avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip. This replaces the Travel Warning issued March 19, 2012, to update information on the general security environment. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

13/08/2012 at 13:10

Travel Warning: Iraq

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for Iraq on August 9.  It reads as follows:

Iraq

August 09, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel to Iraq given the security situation. Travel within Iraq remains dangerous. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning dated January 19, 2012, to update information on security incidents and to remind U.S. citizens of ongoing security concerns for U.S. citizens in Iraq, including kidnapping and terrorist violence. The United States completed its withdrawal of military forces from Iraq as of December 31, 2011. The ability of the Embassy to respond to situations where U.S. citizens face difficulty, including arrests, is extremely limited.

Some regions within Iraq have experienced fewer violent incidents than others in recent years, in particular the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR). Although violence and threats against U.S. citizens persist, reported instances have lessened in the past six months. U.S. citizens in Iraq also remain at risk for kidnapping. Methods of attack have, in the past, included roadside improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including explosively formed penetrators (EFPs); magnetic IEDs placed on vehicles; human and vehicle-borne IEDs, mines placed on or concealed near roads; mortars and rockets, and shootings using various direct fire weapons. Numerous insurgent groups, including Al Qaida in Iraq, remain active throughout Iraq. Although Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) operations against these groups continue, terrorist activity persists in many areas of the country. While terrorist violence occurs at levels lower than in previous years, it occurs frequently, particularly in the provinces of Baghdad, Ninewa, Salah ad Din, Anbar, and Diyala. Read the rest of this entry »

Travel Warning: Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Consular Affairs issued a Travel Warning for the Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 2.  It reads as follows:

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

August 02, 2012

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) (DRC), recommends avoiding all travel to Goma and north Kivu and all but essential travel to south Kivu. This replaces the Travel Warning dated July 25, 2012, to update information on security and air travel safety in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Armed groups, bandits, and elements of the Congolese military remain security concerns in eastern and northeastern DRC. These armed groups, primarily located in the North Kivu, South Kivu, and Orientale provinces, as well as the northern part of Katanga province, and the eastern part of Maniema province, are known to pillage, steal vehicles, kidnap, rape, kill, and carry out military or paramilitary operations in which civilians are indiscriminately targeted. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is present near the border with Uganda, Central African Republic, and the Republic of South Sudan. The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) continues to assist the Congolese government with the protection of civilians and efforts to combat armed groups. Read the rest of this entry »