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Cablegate: Welcome Staffdel Thielmann

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAM #0106/01 0131135
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131135Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1437
INFO RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0943
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 2769
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0040

UNCLAS AMMAN 000106

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OREP AMGT ASEC AFIN AU IAEA IS LB JO
SUBJECT: WELCOME STAFFDEL THIELMANN

REF: STATE 1442

1. (SBU) Embassy Amman warmly welcomes the visit of Mr. Gregory
Thielmann, Mr. Paul Matulic, Ms. Jacqueline Russel, Ms. Jennifer
Wagner, and Lt. Col. Peter Bloom to Jordan from January 16, 2008
through January 18, 2008, as requested reftel. The travelers should
carefully review this message, especially the threat assessment at
paragraph 9.

2. On October 1, 2007, the Department of State electronic country
clearance (eCC) application was deployed for all U.S. Government
travelers. eCC is the official channel to request country
clearance. All agencies and visitors are requested to use eCC to
request country clearance in the future.

3. (SBU) Control officer for this visit is Carolyn K. McCullough.
Contact information is as follows: 962-6-590-6734 (office);
962-6-592-0142 (fax); 962-6-592-3635 (home); 962-79-620-2028
(mobile); and mcculloughck@state.gov. The Embassy's after-hours
telephone number is +962-6-590-6500.

4. (SBU) Hotel reservations have been made at Four Seasons, phone
962-6-550-5555 and fax 962-6-550-5070. Cost is at a rate within per
diem; breakfast is not included in the room rate. Due to security
concerns in Jordan (paragraph 8), TDY personnel are assigned hotels
on a rotational basis. Therefore, Embassy Amman will make the final
decision on hotel accommodations for all visitors. The Embassy will
provide expeditor assistance upon arrival and departure.

5. (U) Valid visas are required for entry into Jordan. Visas may be
obtained at Queen Alia airport though not at all land border
crossings; however, Embassy Amman suggests visitors obtain their
visas prior to arrival, as there can be long queues for visa
issuance at the airport. Money can be exchanged at Queen Alia
airport or in the delegation's control room.

6. (U) Action request: Each visitor, regardless of length of stay,
must bring/forward fiscal data to pay for direct costs of the visit.
Each agency, organization or visiting delegation will be charged
for the actual costs attributed to its visit. Direct charge costs
include, but are not limited to: American and LES overtime (for
such services as airport expediting, cashier accommodation exchange,
control room staffing, representational event support), travel and
per diem costs incurred by post personnel in support of vi1sitor's
field travel, rental of vehicles and other equipment, long distance
telephone calls, office supplies, gasoline and other vehicle
maintenance costs, departure tax and other airport fees. Post will
not provide service if fiscal data is not provided for the direct
charges. For TDYers remaining at post over 30 days, there is a
charge for ICASS support services. This charge is for the following
ICASS services: Basic Package, CLO and Health Services. Agencies
will not be billed until the accumulated invoice cost for TDY
support exceeds $2,500 for the fiscal year. If your sponsoring
agency is not signed up for ICASS services at post, please be
prepared to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for ICASS support
services upon arrival. The agency should provide post with a
written communication, generated by the traveler's headquarters,
that confirms the agency will pay ICASS charges for the TDYer,
provides the agency ICASS billing code the TDY support charges
should be applied to, and authorizes the traveler to sign the ICASS
invoice generated by the TDY module. Where travel is urgent, the
TDYer should bring this documentation with him/her to ensure there
are no interruptions in the provision of service. Post will not
provide any service to a TDYer staying in excess of thirty days
without provision of this documentation before day 31 of the TDY.

7. (U) HEALTH: H5N1 avian flu was confirmed in poultry in Jordan in
March 2006, and in the same month, the Government of Jordan
confirmed a human case of H5N1 avian flu in a person who was
infected in Egypt and traveled to Jordan while sick. The World
Health Organization declared Jordan to be free of avian flu in May
2006. There have been no confirmed cases of avian flu in people or
birds in Jordan since the summer of 2006. Further cases of avian
flu in both people and birds in Jordan remain possible. For this
reason and for normal health precautions, visitors are encouraged to
avoid live poultry, poultry farms, and any dead birds. Visitors
should use hand sanitizer and wash hands frequently. Travelers
should also patronize restaurants having high standards for food
safety and hygiene, and ask that poultry and egg products be cooked
thoroughly.

Although Jordan does not pose any unusual health hazards for
visitors, the quality of health care facilities is not up to the
U.S. or European standards, particularly outside of Amman. As
medications on the local economy are often in short supply, visitors
should bring sufficient medications to post for their chronic
medical problems. Immunizations should be current for Tetanus and
Diphtheria, Hepatitis A and B. Visitors should drink bottled water
rather than tap water. Food in the hotels and most restaurants is
safe to eat, but some of the smaller local restaurants do not always
observe proper food handling procedures.

Only those personnel covered under the State Department's medical
program and who have a valid medical clearance for Jordan are
eligible for a medical evacuation at USG cost. All other visitors
are advised to have their own medical evacuation insurance to cover
evacuation by air ambulance. Otherwise it will be necessary to
ensure that the respective agency will cover any costs related to a
medical evacuation. All local hospitals take major credit cards.

8. (U) SECURITY CLEARANCE AND BUILDING ACCESS: In compliance with
State Department regulations and Embassy policies, visitors
requesting unescorted access to the Embassy compound should inform
RSO Amman of their security clearance level (if any) and should name
the agency that granted that clearance. Telegrams containing this
information should include the "ASEC" tag to ensure distribution to
the RSO.

Electronic devices: RSO approval must be obtained before any
electronic device is brought into the Embassy. Privately owned
laptops and personal computers, peripherals, diskettes, and tapes
are prohibited in all mission facilities. Cellular/mobile phones
and palm pilots are prohibited in controlled access areas.

Travelers with USG-owned unclassified laptops or notebook computers,
peripherals, diskettes, and tapes must receive RSO/IMO authorization
before being granted access to U.S. Mission buildings. USG-owned
classified computers must be sent to post via classified diplomatic
pouch. Classified equipment must bear external USG bar-code
inventory numbers and classification markings commensurate with the
highest level of information processed on the system. Questions
concerning other types of electronic devices and magnetic media may
be directed to the RSO and IMO.

Mandatory personal security training: Per 04 STATE 66580, all
employees traveling to post for 30 days or more (whether PCS or TDY)
must have completed the mandatory personal security training (State
Department Security Overseas Seminar or equivalent) before arriving
at post. Agencies must provide the Chief of Mission with
certification that this training will be completed prior to the
employee's travel. Failure to do so will result in denial of
country clearance.

9. (U) THREAT ASSESSMENT: The threat of terrorism remains high in
Jordan. Transnational terrorist groups, as well as less
sophisticated local elements, have demonstrated the capability to
pose threats in Jordan. The Al-Qaida in Iraq network is of
particular concern for terrorist activities against U.S. and
Government of Jordan (GOJ) targets in Jordan. The Al-Qaida in Iraq
network claimed responsibility for the November 9, 2005 bombings of
three international hotels in Amman, which killed 60 people and
injured over 100. Pedestrian suicide bombers wearing explosive
vests carried the bombs into the hotels. Al-Qaida in Iraq also
claimed responsibility for the Aqaba rocket attacks on August 19,
2005 targeting a U.S. naval ship, which killed one Jordanian soldier
and wounded another. The assassination of American diplomat Larry
Foley outside his west Amman residence on October 28, 2002 was also
attributed to Al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who was
killed in Iraq in June 2006.

In addition, there has been a series of confirmed terrorist threats
and disrupted terrorist plots targeting U.S. or Jordanian interests
in Jordan. In November 2006, the GOJ arrested four men who were
planning to use a taxi cab to identify and assassinate an American.
In the same month, the GOJ arrested three men who were reportedly
plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy and assassinate President Bush
during his visit to Jordan. In February 2006, the GOJ disrupted a
terrorist cell plotting to attack Queen Alia International Airport.
In November 2005, the GOJ indicted six men for planning to carry out
attacks against Americans at hotels and bars in Amman and Aqaba. In
August-September 2005, four militants were arrested for plotting
assassinations of Americans in Jordan. In July 2005, GOJ
authorities arrested 17 men who had planned to assassinate GOJ
officials and Americans in Jordan; the group was reportedly linked
to Al-Qaida in Iraq. In February 2005, four men were arrested for
plotting attacks against GOJ officials, tourists and five-star
hotels. In the same month, another group was disrupted while
plotting to attack liquor stores in Amman and foreign tourists in
Aqaba.

Terrorists often do not distinguish between U.S. government
personnel and private citizens. Terrorists may target areas
frequented by Westerners, such as tourist sites, hotels,
restaurants, bars, nightclubs, liquor stores, shopping malls,
transportation hubs, places of worship, expatriate residential
areas, and schools. In light of these security concerns, U.S.
citizens are urged to maintain a high level of vigilance, to be
aware of their surroundings, and to take appropriate steps to
increase their security awareness. It is especially important for
travelers to be unpredictable by varying their times and routes and
to maintain a low profile. Moreover, U.S. citizens are urged to
avoid contact with any suspicious or unfamiliar objects and to
immediately report the presence of such objects to the authorities.
U.S. Government personnel overseas have been advised to take the
same precautions.

Anti-American and anti-Western sentiment exists in Jordan and has
been sparked on occasion by incidents in the region, particularly
those related to Israeli/Palestinian issues and, to a lesser extent,
Iraq. This may lead to random acts of violence against Westerners.
On September 4, 2006, a gunman fired on foreigners at a popular
tourist site in central Amman, killing one and injuring six.

Travelers are advised to avoid any demonstrations or large
gatherings of people. Many demonstrations occur near mosques after
Friday prayers. Consequently, special sensitivity and caution
should be exercised at or near mosques and religious sites during
holy days and the Friday Muslim Sabbath. Demonstrations also often
take place at universities and refugee camps.

Crime is generally not a serious problem for travelers in Jordan,
but petty crime is prevalent in the downtown Amman Hashimiyah Square
area and near the Roman Amphitheater. In the narrow streets of the
older parts of the city center, crowded conditions invite
pickpockets and other petty criminals. Travelers are urged to be
more guarded in these areas so that they do not present easy
opportunities for criminals.

In central and west Amman, there have been reports of thieves
snatching pedestrians' purses from moving vehicles and then driving
off. In some instances, victims were injured when they were unable
to free themselves from their purses. When carrying a purse, it
would be wise to conceal it if possible, to avoid walking near the
road within reach of passing vehicles, and to walk against the flow
of traffic.

Jordanian police have warned the public to exercise vigilance when
leaving banks or ATM machines, as thieves have reportedly preyed
upon persons soon after using these services.

Western women both visiting and residing in Jordan report sexual
harassment, stalking, and unwelcome advances of a sexual nature;
there have been isolated reports of assault. Women are advised to
take reasonable precautions including dressing conservatively and
not traveling alone. Modest attire should be worn in deference to
local custom.

10. (U) TRAVEL GUIDELINES: American citizens and official visitors
traveling in Jordan should exercise caution, be alert, and stay
informed of regional and local events that could quickly impact the
security environment in the country. It is also recommended to
maintain a low profile and not establish predictable patterns of
movement, even if only visiting for a short period. Yellow taxis
are widely used throughout the country and for the most part without
adverse incidents occurring. Still, there have been confirmed
reports of single females being assaulted or verbally harassed by
taxi drivers. The Embassy Internet website has a list of radio
controlled taxi companies that the Government of Jordan has advised
us vet their drivers at
http://amman.usembassy.gov/int_dev/taxi_list. pdf.

For further information, see the State Department's Consular
Information Sheet for Jordan at http://www.travel.state.gov, click
the "Travel Information by Country" hyperlink to get the most recent
Public Announcements on Travel in the Middle East and South Asia and
the most recent Worldwide Caution.

Visit Amman's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.gov.sgov.gov/p/nea/amman/

HALE

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