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US Nominees to Norway & Argentina Bungle, State Spins, Sends Later - To Some

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 7 -- How are US ambassadors selected? The current nominee as US ambassador to Norway George Tsunis called a member of the ruling coalition a "fringe" party; the nominee for Argentina Noah Mamet has never even been to the country.

  State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, when asked, hearkened back to past non civil servant ambassadors like Walter Mondale and Pamela Harriman. She said, "We work closely with ambassadors."

 (Previously, Inner City Press covered the nomination as Ambassador to the Netherlands of a notorious subprime lender. Money talks.)

Earlier in the February 7 briefing, Reuters had given Psaki advice on how to improve State Department security. This continued on Argentina, intervening to defend Mamet's failure to visit Argentina (or apparently read) during the one year his nomination has been pending.

In response, Psaki said she would send something "to all of you afterward." She said the same thing recently about Sri Lanka and Inner City Press, which closely covers that country, e-mailed her to ask that it also receive whatever was sent out and be put on the list. The answer was yes -- but no information ever arrived.

  Not, after acknowledging receipt, has the State Department yet provided documents response to Inner City Press' Freedom of Information Act request concerning the Atrocities Prevention Board.

  In New York, the US Mission to the UN did not respond to a Press question about the Free Syrian Army appearing in a UN report as recruiting and using child soldiers, despite having asked that the question be put in writing. Instead, the Mission emailed out to some statements about Samantha Power and Pussy Riot.

  It's understood that advocacy is a major part of their job. But isn't answering questions, and providing access on an equitable basis, also part of the mandate? We'll see. Watch this site.


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