Archive for the ‘Ambassador’ Category

Vietnam Envoy In Africa Arrested: Dealing in Banned Rhino

November 19, 2008

Vietnam says it will recall one of its diplomats from South Africa after she was filmed in an apparent illegal purchase of a rhinoceros horn.

A TV crew accompanying government investigators filmed an agent for a gang of poachers meeting the woman outside Vietnam’s embassy in Pretoria.

BBC

They filmed the agent handing the horn to the diplomat, who then took it inside the embassy building.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said it had recalled her to “clarify the affair”.

Vietnam’s ambassador to South Africa, Tran Duy Thi, told the BBC that action had to be taken.

Rhinoceros (file image)
Crushed rhino horn is prized in some traditional East Asian medicine

“She did it right at the front steps of the embassy,” he said. “You see, they filmed the Vietnamese flag as she was doing it – how shameful! There must be a sanction.”

More than 40 rhinos are said to have been killed in South Africa this year.

Conservationists say Vietnamese syndicates are heavily involved in the illegal trade of their horns.

Crushed rhinoceros horn is a prized ingredient in traditional East Asian medicine, where it is used to treat fever and high blood pressure.

Nosorožec

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Pakistan’s ambassador held by Taliban

April 19, 2008

By Augustine Anthony

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan‘s ambassador to Afghanistan, who went missing in February in the Khyber region, appeared on Arabic television on Saturday saying he was being held by the Taliban and urged Islamabad to meet their demands.
Ambassador Tariq Azizuddin is seen in this undated handout photograph ... 
Ambassador Tariq Azizuddin is seen in this undated handout photograph released by the Pakistani embassy in Kabul on February 12, 2008. Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan who went missing in February appeared in a video on Al Arabiya television on Saturday saying that he is being held by Taliban militants and urged his government to meet their demands.(Pakistan Embassy Handout/Reuters)

Ambassador Tariq Azizuddin appeared in a video tape on Al Arabiya television surrounded by armed militants to make his first public statement since going missing.

“We were kidnapped by mujahideen from the Taliban,” the ambassador, wearing an open-necked shirt and looking calm, said in the remarks which were translated from Urdu into Arabic.

“I suffer health problems such as high blood pressure and heart pains,” said the bespectacled and grey-bearded ambassador, who gestured to his armed captors in an arid, hilly region.

Scores of people have been kidnapped in the dangerous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the ambassador’s disappearance highlighted instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan — a major ally in the U.S.-led crackdown on militants.

The Pakistani government had not publicly confirmed he had been kidnapped but a senior government official said on Saturday Azizuddin was being held by militants who were demanding the release of their arrested colleagues.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080419/wl_nm/pakistan_
afghanistan_envoy_dc_7

 

 

Rioters break into US Embassy, Belgrade, Serbia

February 21, 2008
By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press Writer 

BELGRADE, Serbia – Serb rioters broke into the U.S. Embassy Thursday and set fire to an office after a massive protest against Kosovo’s independence that drew an estimated 150,000 people.
Protesters attend a during mass protest rally against Kosovo's ...
Protesters attend a during mass protest rally against Kosovo’s declaration of independence in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. At least 150,000 Serbs gathered in central Belgrade on Thursday in a massive protest against Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
(AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Masked attackers broke into the building, which has been closed this week, and tried to throw furniture from an office. A blaze broke out inside one of the offices. Riot police drove armored jeeps down the street and fired tear gas to clear the crowd.

The neighboring Croatian Embassy also was attacked by the same group of protesters.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack strongly urged the Serbian government to protect the U.S. Embassy. He said the U.S. ambassador was at his home and was in contact with U.S. officials.

The U.S. embassy in Belgrade burns after masked attackers broke ...
The U.S. embassy in Belgrade burns after masked attackers broke into the building and set an office on fire at the end of a massive protest against Western-backed Kosovo independence, in the Serbian capital, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. More than 150,000 Serbs gathered at the rally vowing to retake the territory which is viewed as Serbia’s religious and national heartland.
(AP Photo)

More than a dozen nations have recognized Kosovo‘s declaration of independence on Sunday, including the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

But the declaration has been rejected by Serbia‘s government and the ethnic Serbians who populate northern Kosovo. Russia, China and numerous other nations have also condemned the declaration, saying it sets a precedent that separatist groups around the world will seek to emulate.

Earlier, police estimated that about 150,000 people had attended a rally in the Serbian capital. The crowd waved Serbian flags and carried signs reading “Stop USA terror.” One group set fire to a red-and-black Albanian flag. Most of Kosovo’s population is ethnic Albanian.

Muhammad From Pakistan: Musharraf Standing Up To Terrorists

February 20, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I hope you and your team will be alright.

There is still confusion in Pakistan as politicians have started another war for the power.

Some of the leaders including Mian Nawaz Sharif, whose party Pakistan Muslim League has won some seats in the election have demanded of President Musharraf to resign. I want to inform you some of the parties demanding Musharraf’s resignation are actually being supported by terrorists. They have been creating choas and anarchy in the country.

I will repeat my words that presence of Musharraf is essential for giving a crushing defeat to terrorists. Musharraf is the only hurdle in way of terrorists. The US must extend full support to the president.

According to media reports, the presidency has contacted with Co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party Asif Ali Zardari to discuss formation of the next government and future political scenario of the country.

Close aides of the president have contacted the PPP leader and offered cooperation from Muslim League-Q and MQM for formation of the next government, the President House sources said.

The presidential aides also tried to take Zardari into confidence. According to the sources, Asif Ali Zardari told them the government was failed to fulfill the understanding reached with Benazir Bhutto, now all options are open before him to take any decision. Zardari said he doesn’t have trust over the president house and he will decide future line of action after consultation with the party colleagues.

It is heartening to note that efforts by US, Britain and other western countries are underway for the formation of modern, liberal and democratic set up in the country following the announcement of general elections’ results. In this connection, the officials of US Embassy are contacting all the political leaders.

Co-Chairman, Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari called on the US Ambassador, Ann W. Paterson and other officials here at US Consulate.

Caretaker Minister for Information, Nisar A. Memon and and General Secretary of Pakistan Muslim League (Q), Mushahid Hussain Sayed also met with the US officials.The US Consul General Bryan D. Hunt called on PML-N Chief, Nawaz Sharif and had an exchange of views with relation to the formation of central government.

“US, Britain and other western countries want to see a modern, liberal and democratic set up in the country,” said the diplomatic sources, adding, the objective of these meetings is to combine all the political forces for strengthening the democratic institutions of Pakistan.
The political parties have been urged to focus on the larger interest of the country rather than their personal interests and form a strong government that could complete its five- year term. The US senator used the word being used by you for Musharraf imperfect. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf displayed “a kind of grace in accepting” the defeat of his allies in elections, US senator and poll monitor John Kerry told reporters Wednesday.

“We would like to say he kept his promise to hold elections. Imperfect as it was, it produced results… and he showed a kind of grace in accepting what people had said,” Kerry said in New Delhi, a day after meeting Musharraf in Islamabad.

Dear Sir, I want to inform you confusion in the country will certainly be used by the terrorists for achieving their ulterior motives. They are still sitting in the tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border making plans for more attacks in the world.

Caretaker Interior minister Hamid Nawaz has said, “The backbone of terrorists had been broken in Pakistan”.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad – the interior minister said that no terrorist attacks would be possible in the country now, except in the tribal areas. He also said that a six point strategy had been prepared to maintain law and order and to route out terrorism from the country.

Dear Sir, the people of tribal areas will never your cooperation with them in the war on terrorism. You have done a lot for them.  They are glad you travel in safety.

Again thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad KhurshidKhar

Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan

US envoy meets former Taliban commander

January 14, 2008
By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer

MUSA QALA, Afghanistan – The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan flew to a town previously held by the Taliban in the heart of the world’s largest poppy-growing region and told the ex-militant commander now in charge there that Afghans must stop “producing poison.”

Ambassador William Wood on Sunday drank tea and talked with Mullah Abdul Salaam, a former Taliban commander who defected to the government last month and is now the district leader of Musa Qala in the southern province of Helmand.

Wood urged Salaam to tell his people to leave behind “the practice of producing poison,” and said poppy production, the key element in the opium and heroin trade, was against the law and Islam.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080114/ap_on_re_as/
afghan_musa_qala;_ylt=AmVxyrmkjq
g5m4v3Oov_qlCs0NUE

Iran Cited In Iraq’s Decline in Violence

December 23, 2007

 By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 23, 2007; Page A01

The Iranian government has decided “at the most senior levels” to rein in the violent Shiite militias it supports in Iraq, a move reflected in a sharp decrease in sophisticated roadside bomb attacks over the past several months, according to the State Department’s top official on Iraq.

Tehran’s decision does not necessarily mean the flow of those weapons from Iran has stopped, but the decline in their use and in overall attacks “has to be attributed to an Iranian policy decision,” David M. Satterfield, Iraq coordinator and senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said in an interview.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker said that the decision, “should [Tehran] choose to corroborate it in a direct fashion,” would be “a good beginning” for a fourth round of talks between Crocker and his Iranian counterpart in Baghdad. Although the mid-December date scheduled for the talks was postponed, Crocker said he expects that the parties will convene “in the next couple of weeks.”

The Pentagon has been more cautious in describing Iran’s role ….
Ryan C. Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq 
Ryan C. Crocker,
U.S. Ambassador to Iraq

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/22/AR2007122201847.html?hpid=topnews

National Intelligance Estimate: Incomplete Snapshot?

December 18, 2007

NIE in the sky?
By James Zumwalt
The Washington Times
December 18, 2007

With the recent publication of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) suggesting Iran may have halted work on its nuclear weapons capability in 2003, we recalled the intelligence reporting received in 1991 as we prepared to advance into Kuwait during Desert Storm.

Assessments made it clear a formidable Iraqi army stood between us and our objective. Aerial photos revealed massive networks of bunkers.

Intelligence, from an array of other sources, supported the assessment thousands of enemy soldiers occupied the networks. But one very important intelligence input was missing from the assessment — human intelligence or “humint.” Absent the benefit of human eyes and ears on the ground, i.e., an observer, spy or defector providing timely,
subjective information, we lacked good intelligence on enemy troop levels, willingness to fight, their ability to fight, etc. Advancing into Kuwait, we encountered little resistance.

Unbeknownst to the analysts, many Iraqi soldiers deserted under cover of darkness. What Saddam Hussein predicted would be the “mother of all battles” became the mother of all defeats as U.S. ground forces routed the Iraqis in four days.

The science of analyzing intelligence is imperfect. Like modern art, it is subject to personal interpretation. At times, intelligence can provide clear evidence of enemy intent. In the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, it proved most embarrassing for the Soviet ambassador, after
being called in by the U.S. State Department and denying the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba, to be shown indisputable evidence of same in aerial photographs.

Edging toward war, Washington remained steadfastly firm, forcing Moscow to back down and remove the missiles.

Only later did we discover such U.S. steadfastness was the result of critical humint fed to Washington by a Soviet spy inside the Kremlin, thus providing Washington with a decided edge throughout the crisis.

In the Desert Storm example, no humint was available to indicate enemy levels and intentions; in the Cuban missile crisis example, enemy intentions were clear. Thus, intelligence assessments become a balancing act of trying to determine what elements should be given more weight and which should receive less.

Sometimes analysts give humint the wrong weight. In December 1941, as the Japanese navy silently approached Pearl Harbor bent on war-making, analysts felt war was not imminent, giving greater weight to the words and actions of Japanese diplomats in Washington they believed to be bent on peacemaking. Thus, even when humint is available, intelligence analysis is seldom perfect.

There are several reasons for concern about NIE’s about-face on Iran’s nuclear weapons capability.

The assessment appears to have been triggered primarily by recent humint input. Worrisome is the weight given to what may well be a counter-intelligence effort by Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The humint relied upon is a claim by senior IRGC official Ali Rez Asgari who defected during a February trip to Turkey. Mr.
Asgari told a foreign intelligence agency all activity on Iran’s nuclear weapons program stopped four years ago. His claim purported was supported by intercepted communications among Iranian officials.

Such information needs to be carefully scrutinized as we have learned
some lessons from the Cold War. We now know “critically timed”
defections as well as intercepted communications within a targeted
country could conceivably be a counter-intelligence initiative. The
Iranians are well aware of Moscow’s successful use in the past of
double agents — Soviet spies who defected to the West only to further
U.S.S.R. objectives in obfuscating Moscow’s sinister intent.

The role of one such Soviet double agent, Yuri Noshenko, remains a
mystery. His timely defection to the United States, shortly after
President Kennedy’s assassination as the Warren Commission began
investigating whether accused killer Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, has
long been cited as a disinformation effort to divert suspicion from
Moscow. While claiming coincidentally to have just reviewed the KGB’s
files on Oswald, who visited the U.S.S.R. prior to the assassination,
he said he found no evidence of Soviet complicity. Yet Noshenko later
failed two polygraph exams.

Surprisingly, the commission accepted the humint, finding Oswald did
act alone. Some critics believe the failed polygraphs cast questionable
light on the timing of Noshenko’s defection. Likewise, the timing of
Mr. Asgari’s defection must be questioned, coming at a time the
Iranians realized even America’s European allies were losing patience
with Tehran and considering more severe economic sanctions. Blindly
accepting Asgari’s claim is a “pie in the sky” approach to NIE
analysis.

There are also major concerns about the experience and motivation of the U.S. analysts involved. Newsmax reports it was prepared by inexperienced State Department political and intelligence analysts who, as Democratic Party activists, politicized the assessment. Thus, it was either their political leanings or their inexperience that resulted in
several shortcomings in the NIE.

First, they relied upon humint unvetted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Second, as pointed out by Iran expert Alireza Jafarzadeh, they failed to focus on actions of the IRGC — the military arm created in Iran by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1979 to safeguard and export the Islamic Revolution. Mr. Jafarzadeh, who first revealed the existence of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, reports the IRGC holds the keys to the
country’s nuclear weapons program. IRGC leaders who are also nuclear scientists, in collaboration with Iranian universities, are fully committed to achieving what they believe is Tehran’s religious mandate to be so armed.

Yet the NIE makes little mention of the IRGC. Third, the acceptance of Mr. Asgari’s claims Iran’s nuclear weapons program ceased in 2003 conflicts with Iranian purchases two years later of 18 North Korean BM-25 long range, land-mobile missiles that are used to carry nuclear warheads.

A post-report concern is the effort just this month by Iran to secretly obtain uranium from Bolivia, through the good offices of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a dedicated follower of Khomeini and believes in the ayatollah’s assertion, “Islam makes it incumbent [for believers] to prepare for the conquest of countries so that the writ of Islam is obeyed in every country of the world … [by fulfilling Islam’s mandate to] kill all unbelievers.”

Devout believer Mr. Ahmadinejad has made clear, several times, his intention to wipe the U.S. and Israel off the map. So there should be no doubt his intentions remain focused on obtaining nuclear weaponry with which to make good on his threat.

Against this backdrop of declared Iranian intentions to destroy us, of past questionable U.S. intelligence assessments, of the timing of Mr. Asgari’s defection, of the inexperience and motivations of the analysts, can we afford to put the world at risk by blindly accepting
it? Previously, the U.S. was able to bounce back following flawed intelligence assessments.
But that will not be the case if we are wrong about Iran.

Therefore, the only assessment we can afford to accept is one obtained via verifiable inspection of a nuclear weapons development program Tehran keeps hidden deep beneath the Earth’s surface, while claiming peaceful intent.

James G. Zumwalt, a Marine veteran of the Persian Gulf and Vietnam
wars, is a contributor to The Washington Times.

Related:
National Intelligence Estimate 101

In Iraq: Reporters More Dedicated than the U.S. Foreign Service?

November 3, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 3, 2007

As of October 15, 2007, according to the Washington Post, 118 journalist-reporters had been killed in Iraq.

At least 3,830 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to the Associated Press.

We asked the U.S. State Department about any and all deaths and we got this in reply:

“More than 1,200 of 11,500 eligible State Department personnel have already served in Iraq. By 2008, we need to fill 250 posts in the Embassy in Baghdad and we have had 200 volunteers.”

“At least three department employees have been killed in Iraq since the 2003.”

Three.

And one more point: who was in charge of protecting the diplomats of the State Department and the Foreign Service? Why, the State Department itself. State hired Blackwater to do the job: and now there are rumors that Blackwater is very unhappy with the way the department behaved in protecting them and managing the contract.

When the city of Washington DC has too much crime in a short time span, the Police Chief and the Mayor declare an “All Hands on Deck.” The city gets flooded with police officers and crime goes down.

After September 11, 2001, I thought I heard the President of the United States declare war on terror: in effect, a national “All Hands on Deck.” Reporters and military people streamed into Iraq.

The Foreign Service? Many ran for cover with no repercussion.

Related:

Defense on Steroids; State on Life Support

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath
and
A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

and
Diplomatic Infighting
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/02/AR2007110201754.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

See also:
War’s Necessary Sacrifices

The Abyss Between State and Defense

November 3, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 3, 2007

Last Wednesday, October 31, 2007, at a U.S. State Department “Town Hall Meeting,” a U.S. Foreign Service officer stood and addressed the Secretary of State using these words: “It’s one thing if someone believes in what’s going on over there and volunteers, but it’s another thing to send someone over there on a forced assignment. I’m sorry, but basically that’s a potential death sentence and you know it. Who will raise our children if we are dead or seriously wounded?”

This one short statement underscores the cultural abyss between the U.S. military and the U.S. Foreign Service.

Military people and Foreign Service officers are all voluneers. All take the same oath. But they are widely divided by culture.

A military man or woman who refuses assignment to a war zone has four options: prove that he or she is conscientious objector, desert, face disciplinary measures or prove some hardship such as being the only family member with an income. Proof is tough for any road requiring the military to grant special priviledge and very few military people fail to carry out their assignments and their duties.

At the State Department, it seems to military people, there are no repurcussion for the Foreign Service officer who fails to obey an order or “squirms out.”

In more than 30 years of my personal service, I have seen the gulf between the Pentagon and “Foggy Bottom” (a nickname for the State Department) deepen and widen.

At the Pentagon, the view is that the State Department believes in endless discussion, endless dialogue, endless staffing and endless meetings. At the State Department there is a widely shared view that military people really know nothing of the world and, like a hammer that spots a nail, always favors the force of arms over diplomacy.

Neither of these views is correct.

But misperception and disagreements in form and substance exist between Defense and State and they are significant and dangerous to our Nation, the United States. The two sides of the Potomac River have very different cultures and this will take a long time to resolve, if it really needs resolution. It may be an essential element of mankind that one’s life experiences shape his or her outlook and culture.

But the immediate issue is this. President Bush declared a world-wide war on terror and an all-out U.S. government effort immediately following the terror disaster of September 11, 2001.

But the all-out U.S. government effort never materialized, according to many who work on the Arlington side of the river.  About one percent of the U.S. population has been engaged in the war and the Defense Department has carried, by far, the largest role.   

Arlington is the home of the Pentagon and the great National Cemetery.  On the Arlington side of the river, people look toward Washington DC and ask, where is their contribution? Where is the REST of the Federal Government.

Arlington denizens look toward Foggy Bottom with scorn and distain.

The remarks made at Wednesday State Department Town Hall Meeting have to be faced and dealt with or the abyss within the U.S. government will deepen and widen yet again and even more.
*************

Oath of service to the United States, taken by military members, members of the U.S. Foreign Service, and other government employees:

“I (person taking oath says own name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same. That I take this obligation freely and without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. That I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me, God.”

Related:

Diplomatic Infighting Hurts Terror War Effort

Diplomats Who Refuse Assignments: “Hit The Road, You are Terminated with Prejudice and Without Pay”

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

A Diplomacy of neighborhoods

“Gaffe Machine” Karen Hughes Leaving State Department

Rice Tells State Department Staff: You Took an Oath

November 2, 2007

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the U.S. envoy to Baghdad reminded diplomats on Friday of their duty to serve their country amid a revolt among some who are resisting forced assignments to Iraq.

In separate comments, Rice and Ambassador Ryan Crocker said that foreign service officers are obligated by their oath of office to work at any diplomatic mission worldwide, regardless of the risks involved or their personal feelin
gs about the policies of any given administration.

“We are one foreign service and people need to serve where they are needed,” Rice told reporters aboard her plane as she flew to Turkey for a weekend conference of top officials from Iraq’s neighbors. Crocker also is attending the conference.

Read the rest:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071102/ap_on_re_us/
us_iraq_embassy;_ylt=AsERsdJMri7AtOax5a8qosGs0NUE