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Feb-18-2011 00:10printcomments

State Dept Should Limit Self to Twitter Communications

The State Dept. might consider conducting its briefings via Twitter, where functionaries have proven more adept at succinctness and clarity:

State Department
US Dept. of State seal

(ISTANBUL) - Lately I have been concerned about the job security of PJ Crowley, usual emcee of the U.S. State Department daily press briefings.

The bio on his Twitter account reads:

As U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, I carry out the Secretary’s mandate to help people understand the importance of U.S. foreign policy.”

However, recent performances would appear to be in direct contravention of this goal (see here, here and here).

Acting Deputy Department Spokesman Mark C. Toner meanwhile replaced Crowley at yesterday’s briefing, although there have thus far been no reports that Crowley has followed recently deposed U.S. allies into a coma. As the following excerpts demonstrate, Toner’s performance confirms that State Dept. employment in fact hinges upon one’s ability to be vague and self-contradictory:


Toner reports that “we are deeply saddened by the apparent sinking of a tourist boat in Halong Bay in northern Vietnam today.”

QUESTION: Sorry, you said apparently sank?

MR. TONER: It sank, okay.

QUESTION: Yeah, it either did or didn’t.

MR. TONER: It did sink. I’m confirming that it sank.


QUESTION: …so, basically, the United States feels that any – if any of these people in any of these countries feel – if the majority of the people feel that their leader should step down, they should step down?

MR. TONER: That’s not what we’re saying at all. Again, these people do have the right, though, to freedom of assembly, and that the government should allow them to exercise that right.


QUESTION: Do they want a bomb or not? Do they want a bomb?

MR. TONER: Ask Ahmadinejad.


QUESTION: And what kind of consular access have we had to [American contractor aliasRaymond Davis,’ who murdered between two and three Pakistanis last month]?”

MR. TONER: I’m not sure when the last consular access was, but I believe it’s been pretty steady throughout.

Huma Dar has provided a summary of initial consular access to “Davis” following the crime in Lahore:

The [U.S.] Consulate immediately sends an SUV that allegedly proceeds to jump the median on a major road, traveling against the oncoming traffic, running over and killing yet another motorcyclist, Ibad-ur-Rehman — who was getting married in another two months.”

An audience member at the State Dept. press briefing meanwhile encourages the U.S. to make basic distinctions in its endeavor to recuperate “Davis”:

QUESTION: …there’s two different things. I mean, there’s diplomatic immunity… and there’s innocence. I mean, are you trying to get him released based on diplomatic immunity or on his innocence?

MR. TONER: Well, it’s a fair question, Elise. Our fundamental argument here remains the fact that, under the Vienna Conventions, he should have full diplomatic immunity and should be released immediately, and we call on the Pakistani Government to do so. That said, we’re also saying that he was obviously innocent of any criminal action and was simply defending himself in a botched robbery.

QUESTION: And your evidence of that is this police report?

MR. TONER: Obviously, our conversations with him, police report, other evidence. I don’t know exactly what all that – all the evidence is.

Suggestion: the State Dept. might consider conducting its briefings via Twitter, where functionaries have proven more adept at succinctness and clarity:

PJ Crowley, 5:56 PM Feb 16th:

"#KimJongIl‘s son attended an #EricClapton concert in Singapore? Actually, the #DearLeader himself would benefit from getting out more often.”


Belén is co-editor at Pulse Media. Her articles also have appeared in CounterPunch, Narco News, Palestine Chronicle, Palestine Think Tank, Rebelión, Tlaxcala, The Electronic Intifada, Upside Down World, and Her book “Coffee with Hezbollah,” a humorous political travelogue chronicling her hitchhiking trip through Lebanon in the aftermath of the 2006 Israeli assault, is available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes and Noble.

Born in Washington, DC, in 1982, Belén earned her bachelor's degree with a concentration in political science from Columbia University in New York City. Her diverse background of worldwide experiences, created a fantastic writer; one whose work we are extremely happy to share with viewers. You can contact Belén at:

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