UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WELLINGTON 000332
HONG KONG FOR JAY VAN KIRK
EAP/ANP - TRAMSEY
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OTRA ECON ASEC HK CW NZ IRS
SUBJECT: COOK ISLANDS COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR VAN KIRK,
BROWN, MYERS, AND MARTIN, MAY 19 - JUNE 4, 2005
REF: HONG KONG 2061
Â¶1. (SBU) Embassy welcomes and grants country clearance to
IRS Officials Jay Van Kirk, Reginald Brown, Monte Myers,
and Tonya Martin, to travel to the Cook Islands from May
19 - June 4, 2005. The purpose of this visit is to
provide a two-week Financial Investigative Techniques
(FIT) class to Cook Island law enforcement personnel.
Â¶2. (U) Embassy understands that no assistance is
Â¶3. (SBU) Embassy point of contact is Economic Officer Joy
Yamamoto. Contact details are as follows:
Â¶4. (U) The Cook Islands is a Parliamentary democracy in
free association with New Zealand, on which they rely for
defense and assistance in meeting low-level security
threats. The Embassy is not aware of any specific threats
to U.S. facilities or personnel at this time in the Cook
Islands. However, in light of the worldwide security
alert all visitors should heighten their security
awareness and report any unusual incidents to the Regional
Security Office at the Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand.
Â¶5. (U) Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
in the U.S. and the November 2002 terrorist bombing in
Bali, there has been concern that terrorists might seek to
take advantage of the low level of security maintained in
small island states such as the Cook Islands in order to
target tourists in previously safe destinations. New
Zealand has worked with the Cook Islands to improve
airport security in response to this possibility.
Terrorist actions may include, but are not limited to,
suicide operations, bombings, or kidnapping. Possible
threats include conventional weapons such as explosive
devices or non-conventional weapons, including chemical or
biological agents. Terrorists do not distinguish between
official and civilian targets. Targets may include
facilities where Americans and other foreigners congregate
or visit, such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants,
places of worship, schools, hotels, outdoor recreation
events, resorts, and beaches. U.S. citizens should
increase their security awareness at such locations, avoid
them, or switch to other locations where Americans in
large numbers generally do not congregate.
Â¶6. (U) The Cook Islands offshore finance industry has
come under scrutiny regarding possible money laundering.
The Cook Islands has been included on the OECD's list of
non-cooperating states in the fight against money
Â¶7. (U) As a result of recent military action in Iraq,
there is a potential for retaliatory actions to be taken
against U.S. citizens and interest throughout the world.
Public demonstrations carry the potential for
precipitating violence directed at American citizens.
Â¶8. (U) U.S. Government facilities worldwide remain at a
heightened state of alert and some have drawn down their
dependents and/or personnel. These facilities may
temporarily close or suspend public services from time to
time for security reasons. In those instances, U.S.
embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide
emergency services to American citizens. Monitor the
local news and maintain contact with the nearest American
Embassy or U.S. Consulate.
Â¶9. (U) Precautions should also be taken to not discuss
sensitive or classified information outside secure
environments or over unsecured and/or cellular telephones,
and to securely safeguard classified or sensitive
information at the Chancery and not at hotels or
Â¶10. (U) Visitors should also be aware of the State
Department's Consular Information sheet and the most
recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcements, which are
available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov
Â¶11. (U) In essence, visitors must exercise appropriate
caution and be alert to their surroundings with regard to
their personal security. Suspicious incidents/activities
should be reported to RSO Wellington (Telephone (64)(4)462-
6000, 24 hours/day).
Â¶12. (U) Crime: Appropriate common sense precautions
should be taken, especially at night, to avoid becoming a
target of opportunity.
Â¶13. (U) Weather: Severe cyclones present a threat during
the hurricane season, which is from November to March.