It’s Official: Daniel Fried, Special Envoy for Gitmo Closure

I guess can’t really say “officially in” since he is a career diplomat and is already in. The State Department announced today the appointment of Ambassador Daniel Fried. Statement in full below:

In order to carry out President Obama’s commitment to close the detention facility at Guantanamo within one year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has determined we need to intensify our efforts to facilitate the transfer of detainees. Secretary Clinton therefore has asked Ambassador Daniel Fried, a seasoned diplomat with a strong record of accomplishment, to lead a dedicated team to address this issue full-time. Ambassador Fried’s extensive experience will be an invaluable asset as we seek the assistance of foreign governments in moving toward closure of the detention facility.

Over the last several years, the task of negotiating transfers of detainees from Guantanamo has fallen to the Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues and his staff, whose primary function historically has been war crimes matters – a full-time job. This shift provides the benefit of also ensuring that the Ambassador at Large and his team can devote their full attention to war crime matters, which are of critical importance to this Administration.

I’m not sure what his official title is, the announcement did not actually give that, but he will reportedly be working with officials from the Pentagon and Justice Department as well as foreign governments on the specifics of closing the camp. He also will work with the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Clint Williamson, who has been leading negotiations on detainee transfers, the officials said.

Until this appointment, Ambassador Fried has been the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (05/05/2005 to 03/12/2009). Before taking the helm of the EUR Bureau, Ambassador Fried served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council since January 22, 2001. He was Principal Deputy Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States from May 2000 until January 2001. He was Ambassador to Poland from November 1997 until May 2000.

Daniel Fried, of Washington, DC, began his career with the Foreign Service in 1977. He served in the Economic Bureau of the State Department from 1977 to 1979; at the U.S. Consulate General in then-Leningrad from 1980 to 1981; as Political Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade from 1982 to 1985; and in the Office of Soviet Affairs at the State Department from 1985 to 1987. Ambassador Fried was Polish Desk Officer at the State Department from 1987 to 1989 as democracy returned to Poland and Central Europe. He served as Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw from 1990 to 1993.

At least there won’t be any house cleaning this time around?

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It’s Official: Daniel Fried, Special Envoy for Gitmo Closure

I guess can’t really say “officially in” since he is a career diplomat and is already in. The State Department announced today the appointment of Ambassador Daniel Fried. Statement in full below:

In order to carry out President Obama’s commitment to close the detention facility at Guantanamo within one year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has determined we need to intensify our efforts to facilitate the transfer of detainees. Secretary Clinton therefore has asked Ambassador Daniel Fried, a seasoned diplomat with a strong record of accomplishment, to lead a dedicated team to address this issue full-time. Ambassador Fried’s extensive experience will be an invaluable asset as we seek the assistance of foreign governments in moving toward closure of the detention facility.

Over the last several years, the task of negotiating transfers of detainees from Guantanamo has fallen to the Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues and his staff, whose primary function historically has been war crimes matters – a full-time job. This shift provides the benefit of also ensuring that the Ambassador at Large and his team can devote their full attention to war crime matters, which are of critical importance to this Administration.

I’m not sure what his official title is, the announcement did not actually give that, but he will reportedly be working with officials from the Pentagon and Justice Department as well as foreign governments on the specifics of closing the camp. He also will work with the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Clint Williamson, who has been leading negotiations on detainee transfers, the officials said.

Until this appointment, Ambassador Fried has been the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (05/05/2005 to 03/12/2009). Before taking the helm of the EUR Bureau, Ambassador Fried served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council since January 22, 2001. He was Principal Deputy Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States from May 2000 until January 2001. He was Ambassador to Poland from November 1997 until May 2000.

Daniel Fried, of Washington, DC, began his career with the Foreign Service in 1977. He served in the Economic Bureau of the State Department from 1977 to 1979; at the U.S. Consulate General in then-Leningrad from 1980 to 1981; as Political Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade from 1982 to 1985; and in the Office of Soviet Affairs at the State Department from 1985 to 1987. Ambassador Fried was Polish Desk Officer at the State Department from 1987 to 1989 as democracy returned to Poland and Central Europe. He served as Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw from 1990 to 1993.

At least there won’t be any house cleaning this time around?

Authorized Departure On for US Embassy Antananarivo

Map from CIA World Factbook

The Department of State has authorized the departure (aka: evacuation) of non-emergency personnel and family members at the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo. The ongoing spate of violence has Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana pitted against the former mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, Andry Rajoelina. Since the power tussle started in January, 130 lives had been lost and many more had been wounded.

The Embassy’s Warden Message dated March 11 has the following:

“Due to the unstable political situation in Madagascar, the U.S. Embassy has authorized departure of non-emergency personnel and family members of Embassy employees. Additionally the Peace Corps has decided to send all Madagascar-based Peace Corps volunteers to South Africa and temporarily suspend their Madagascar program. At this time, the embassy is encouraging non-emergency staff and family members to depart while commercial air is still readily available. We encourage all Americans in Madagascar to monitor the situation closely and consider departing the country while commercial air is still operating normally.”

Read the whole thing here.

A new travel warning (pdf) states that since January 2009, Madagascar has been experiencing escalating political demonstrations including violent clashes between government forces and supporters of the former mayor of Antananarivo. Looting, and the burning of residences and businesses have occurred. While American citizens have not been targeted to date, the Department of State has authorized the departure of non-emergency personnel and family members at the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo due to the ongoing unrest and security concerns. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens against non-essential travel to Madagascar at this time. American citizens already in Madagascar should carefully consider the dangers of remaining. Those who do choose to remain despite this warning should continue to maintain a high level of vigilance and a low profile.

Today’s issue of The Guardian also quoted the US ambassador to the Indian Ocean island, Niels Marquardt with a warning after the ousting of the country’s army chief: “I note with a great deal of concern and a great deal of sadness that Madagascar is nearly on the verge of civil war.”

Its wiki page indicates that Madagascar’s long isolation from the neighboring continents has resulted in a unique mix of plants and animals, many found nowhere else in the world; some ecologists refer to Madagascar as the “eighth continent”.[13] Of the 10,000 plants native to Madagascar, 90% are found nowhere else in the world.[14]

This is not the first time that Antananarivo has been evacuated. I think it had been evacuated 2-3 times previously for civil unrest. Does not make it easier for folks leaving or for those staying behind. Stay safe guys!

Photo of Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar from wikipedia.

Related Item:

GAO: Evacuation Planning and Preparations for Overseas Posts Can Be Improved

Authorized Departure On for US Embassy Antananarivo

Map from CIA World Factbook

The Department of State has authorized the departure (aka: evacuation) of non-emergency personnel and family members at the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo. The ongoing spate of violence has Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana pitted against the former mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, Andry Rajoelina. Since the power tussle started in January, 130 lives had been lost and many more had been wounded.

The Embassy’s Warden Message dated March 11 has the following:

“Due to the unstable political situation in Madagascar, the U.S. Embassy has authorized departure of non-emergency personnel and family members of Embassy employees. Additionally the Peace Corps has decided to send all Madagascar-based Peace Corps volunteers to South Africa and temporarily suspend their Madagascar program. At this time, the embassy is encouraging non-emergency staff and family members to depart while commercial air is still readily available. We encourage all Americans in Madagascar to monitor the situation closely and consider departing the country while commercial air is still operating normally.”

Read the whole thing here.

A new travel warning (pdf) states that since January 2009, Madagascar has been experiencing escalating political demonstrations including violent clashes between government forces and supporters of the former mayor of Antananarivo. Looting, and the burning of residences and businesses have occurred. While American citizens have not been targeted to date, the Department of State has authorized the departure of non-emergency personnel and family members at the U.S. Embassy in Antananarivo due to the ongoing unrest and security concerns. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens against non-essential travel to Madagascar at this time. American citizens already in Madagascar should carefully consider the dangers of remaining. Those who do choose to remain despite this warning should continue to maintain a high level of vigilance and a low profile.

Today’s issue of The Guardian also quoted the US ambassador to the Indian Ocean island, Niels Marquardt with a warning after the ousting of the country’s army chief: “I note with a great deal of concern and a great deal of sadness that Madagascar is nearly on the verge of civil war.”

Its wiki page indicates that Madagascar’s long isolation from the neighboring continents has resulted in a unique mix of plants and animals, many found nowhere else in the world; some ecologists refer to Madagascar as the “eighth continent”.[13] Of the 10,000 plants native to Madagascar, 90% are found nowhere else in the world.[14]

This is not the first time that Antananarivo has been evacuated. I think it had been evacuated 2-3 times previously for civil unrest. Does not make it easier for folks leaving or for those staying behind. Stay safe guys!

Photo of Tsingy de Bemaraha, Madagascar from wikipedia.

Related Item:

GAO: Evacuation Planning and Preparations for Overseas Posts Can Be Improved

Officially In: General Eikenberry to Kabul and Other Nominees

Hill to Baghdad, Daalder to NATO, Vershbow to DOD, Verma to “H”

Yesterday, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry as Ambassador to Afghanistan and Christopher R. Hill as Ambassador to Iraq. The President also announced his intent to nominate Ivo Daalder as United States Permanent Representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Ambassador to NATO), Alexander Vershbow as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and Richard R. Verma for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the State Department.

Christopher R. Hill, Nominee for Ambassador to Iraq

Christopher R. Hill is currently the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Ambassador Hill is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service whose most recent assignment was as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. On February 14, 2005, he was named as the Head of the U.S. delegation to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Previously he has served as U.S. Ambassador to Poland (2000-2004), Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia (1996-1999) and Special Envoy to Kosovo (1998-1999). […]Ambassador Hill received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award for his contributions as a member of the U.S. negotiating team in the Bosnia peace settlement, and was a recipient of the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations for his work on the Kosovo crisis. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Hill served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.

Ambassador Hill graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a B.A. in Economics. He received a Master’s degree from the Naval War College in 1994. He speaks Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian.

Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, Nominee for Ambassador to Afghanistan

Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry is the Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium. His previous assignment was Commander of the Combined Forces Command – Afghanistan. Lieutenant General Eikenberry’s operational posts include service as commander and staff officer with mechanized, light, airborne, and ranger infantry units in the continental United States, Hawaii, Korea, and Italy. He has served in various strategy, policy, and political-military positions, including: Director for Strategic Planning and Policy for U.S. Pacific Command; U.S. Security Coordinator and Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation in Kabul, Afghanistan; Assistant Army and later Defense Attaché at the United States Embassy in Beijing, China; Senior Country Director for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy on the Army Staff.

Lieutenant General Eikenberry is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, has earned master’s degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and from Stanford University in Political Science, and was a National Security Fellow at the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He earned an Interpreter’s Certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the British Foreign Commonwealth Office while studying at the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Chinese Language School in Hong Kong and he has an Advanced Degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China. Lieutenant General Eikenberry’s military awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished and Superior Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat and Expert Infantryman badges, and master parachutist wings. He has received the Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, Director of Central Intelligence Award, Canadian Meritorious Service Cross, Czech Republic Meritorious Cross, Hungarian Alliance Medal, French Legion of Honor, and Afghanistan’s Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan and Akbar Khan Medals. He is married to Ching Eikenberry.

Alexander Vershbow, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Department of Defense

Alexander Vershbow served as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2005 to 2008, capping a 32-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service. Alexander Vershbow is a long-time expert on Russia, East-West relations, non-proliferation and European security affairs. From 2001 to 2005, he was U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. From 1998 to 2001, Alexander Vershbow served as the U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). From 1994 to 1997, Vershbow served as Special Assistant to President Clinton and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council. Prior assignments include Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO, Director of the State Department’s Office of Soviet Union Affairs, and Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Arms Reductions Talks. Alexander Vershbow received a B.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Columbia University. His wife Lisa is a professional metal artist and designer of contemporary jewelry.

Ivo Daalder, Nominee for United States Permanent Representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Ambassador to NATO)


Richard R. Verma, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, State Department

The full announcement is here or read this: President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts 3/11/09

Officially In: General Eikenberry to Kabul and Other Nominees

Hill to Baghdad, Daalder to NATO, Vershbow to DOD, Verma to “H”

Yesterday, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry as Ambassador to Afghanistan and Christopher R. Hill as Ambassador to Iraq. The President also announced his intent to nominate Ivo Daalder as United States Permanent Representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Ambassador to NATO), Alexander Vershbow as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and Richard R. Verma for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the State Department.

Christopher R. Hill, Nominee for Ambassador to Iraq

Christopher R. Hill is currently the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Ambassador Hill is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service whose most recent assignment was as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea. On February 14, 2005, he was named as the Head of the U.S. delegation to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Previously he has served as U.S. Ambassador to Poland (2000-2004), Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia (1996-1999) and Special Envoy to Kosovo (1998-1999). […]Ambassador Hill received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award for his contributions as a member of the U.S. negotiating team in the Bosnia peace settlement, and was a recipient of the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations for his work on the Kosovo crisis. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Hill served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.

Ambassador Hill graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a B.A. in Economics. He received a Master’s degree from the Naval War College in 1994. He speaks Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian.

Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, Nominee for Ambassador to Afghanistan

Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry is the Deputy Chairman of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Military Committee in Brussels, Belgium. His previous assignment was Commander of the Combined Forces Command – Afghanistan. Lieutenant General Eikenberry’s operational posts include service as commander and staff officer with mechanized, light, airborne, and ranger infantry units in the continental United States, Hawaii, Korea, and Italy. He has served in various strategy, policy, and political-military positions, including: Director for Strategic Planning and Policy for U.S. Pacific Command; U.S. Security Coordinator and Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation in Kabul, Afghanistan; Assistant Army and later Defense Attaché at the United States Embassy in Beijing, China; Senior Country Director for China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia in the Office of the Secretary of Defense; and Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy on the Army Staff.

Lieutenant General Eikenberry is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, has earned master’s degrees from Harvard University in East Asian Studies and from Stanford University in Political Science, and was a National Security Fellow at the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He earned an Interpreter’s Certificate in Mandarin Chinese from the British Foreign Commonwealth Office while studying at the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence Chinese Language School in Hong Kong and he has an Advanced Degree in Chinese History from Nanjing University in the People’s Republic of China. Lieutenant General Eikenberry’s military awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished and Superior Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Ranger Tab, Combat and Expert Infantryman badges, and master parachutist wings. He has received the Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, Director of Central Intelligence Award, Canadian Meritorious Service Cross, Czech Republic Meritorious Cross, Hungarian Alliance Medal, French Legion of Honor, and Afghanistan’s Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan and Akbar Khan Medals. He is married to Ching Eikenberry.

Alexander Vershbow, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Department of Defense

Alexander Vershbow served as Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2005 to 2008, capping a 32-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service. Alexander Vershbow is a long-time expert on Russia, East-West relations, non-proliferation and European security affairs. From 2001 to 2005, he was U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. From 1998 to 2001, Alexander Vershbow served as the U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). From 1994 to 1997, Vershbow served as Special Assistant to President Clinton and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council. Prior assignments include Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO, Director of the State Department’s Office of Soviet Union Affairs, and Advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the Strategic Arms Reductions Talks. Alexander Vershbow received a B.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Columbia University. His wife Lisa is a professional metal artist and designer of contemporary jewelry.

Ivo Daalder, Nominee for United States Permanent Representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Ambassador to NATO)


Richard R. Verma, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs, State Department

The full announcement is here or read this: President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts 3/11/09

Do Politicians Dream of Electric Sheep?

Perhaps in Bolivia …

Photo by Luca Galuzzi – www.galuzzi.it
Licensed under CCA-SA2.5

In June last year, folks working for USAID in the Chapare region, a key drug-trafficking area, were expelled from the country. Apparently they had some success with farmers growing alternative crops to coca. The problem was they reportedly kept asking the question “Do politicians dream of electric sheep?” Eventually somebody suspected that they were up to no good; working on growing “off-world colonies” for green men smoking green coca. Green aliens smoking pot, c’mon, what can be scarier than that?

In September, the ambassador was asked to leave the country. He was in a meeting inside the ministry when he was PNG’ed; a diplomatic blitzkrieg if there ever was one. Some idjits were convinced that the embassy has now been infiltrated by Nexus-7 replicants spying for their home world Saturn.

Of course, those guys involved in the $450,000 bribery-murder scandal must also be space aliens from Saturn, in cahoots with the spies! Geez, now I’m wondering if the pro-president mob who stormed the home of a political rival in a town on the shore of Lake Titicaca and beat members of the man’s family were actually part of the illegal Nexus-6 Saturnite replicants? If they were, could the blade runners be far behind? Because surely – you want them caught, right?

Recently, the embassy’s second secretary, Francisco Martinez was also PNG’ed because he “was in permanent contact with opposition groups.” If they keep at this, before long there won’t be any real earthlings left at that mission.

This must be a real troubling development that Senator Lugar of the Senate Foreign Galactic Relations Committee finally spoke up. Yesterday he released a statement condemning the expulsion of one more diplomat saying “It certainly does not bode well for efforts to solve our differences through honest dialogue and positive actions.”

Oh my goodness! I could write a whole series of books on this – aliens, politicians, replicants, money, bribery, murder, spies, blade runners, png’ed diplomats, coca, sex — oops, er– that last one is for a future news cycle.

Okay – but there’s one great formula for entertainment!

Do Politicians Dream of Electric Sheep?

Perhaps in Bolivia …

Photo by Luca Galuzzi – www.galuzzi.it
Licensed under CCA-SA2.5

In June last year, folks working for USAID in the Chapare region, a key drug-trafficking area, were expelled from the country. Apparently they had some success with farmers growing alternative crops to coca. The problem was they reportedly kept asking the question “Do politicians dream of electric sheep?” Eventually somebody suspected that they were up to no good; working on growing “off-world colonies” for green men smoking green coca. Green aliens smoking pot, c’mon, what can be scarier than that?

In September, the ambassador was asked to leave the country. He was in a meeting inside the ministry when he was PNG’ed; a diplomatic blitzkrieg if there ever was one. Some idjits were convinced that the embassy has now been infiltrated by Nexus-7 replicants spying for their home world Saturn.

Of course, those guys involved in the $450,000 bribery-murder scandal must also be space aliens from Saturn, in cahoots with the spies! Geez, now I’m wondering if the pro-president mob who stormed the home of a political rival in a town on the shore of Lake Titicaca and beat members of the man’s family were actually part of the illegal Nexus-6 Saturnite replicants? If they were, could the blade runners be far behind? Because surely – you want them caught, right?

Recently, the embassy’s second secretary, Francisco Martinez was also PNG’ed because he “was in permanent contact with opposition groups.” If they keep at this, before long there won’t be any real earthlings left at that mission.

This must be a real troubling development that Senator Lugar of the Senate Foreign Galactic Relations Committee finally spoke up. Yesterday he released a statement condemning the expulsion of one more diplomat saying “It certainly does not bode well for efforts to solve our differences through honest dialogue and positive actions.”

Oh my goodness! I could write a whole series of books on this – aliens, politicians, replicants, money, bribery, murder, spies, blade runners, png’ed diplomats, coca, sex — oops, er– that last one is for a future news cycle.

Okay – but there’s one great formula for entertainment!