Convicted Killer of USAID Employees in Sudan, and 2010 Escapee Reportedly Killed in Somalia

Image from the Democracy Fellows ProgramImage via Wikipedia
Granville poses with Sudanese villagers,
after providing them with
solar-operated radios

AFP over the weekend reported that one of the four convicted killers of USAID’s John Granville and Abdel Rahman Abbas in South Sudan in January 1, 2008 was killed in Somalia:

May 8, 2011 | KHARTOUM – One of four Sudanese Islamists who escaped from prison last year after they were sentenced to hang for the murder of a US diplomat was killed while waging “jihad,” or holy war, in Somalia, his father said on Saturday.

Mohannad Osman Yussif Mohammed was one of the four Islamists convicted of the New Year’s Day killing, in 2008, of US diplomat John Granville, 33, and his driver Abdel Rahman Abbas, 40, who both worked for the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

“Today we were informed that Mohannad was killed in jihad in Somalia. I cannot tell anyone how we got this information,” the man’s father told reporters at his house in north Khartoum.

“I am calling for the government to release the Islamic youth from prison and also for the court to cancel the decision against Mohannad, because they were answering President Bashir’s call when he told them to fight international troops in Darfur,” he added.

The four escaped from Kober jail in northern Khartoum in June last year.

Read in full here, the AFP report was carried by a Philippine newspaper.  The headline runs “Sudanese diplomat killer slain in Somalia: father”.



The "Invisible Woman" in "Europe’s State Department" Wants a Bigger Purse

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton...Image via WikipediaVia The Telegraph’s Nick Meo in Brussels | 07 May 2011:

She took up her highly-paid post promising to be a powerful new voice in foreign affairs, part of a bold strategy to make Europe a global player on the world stage. But to the private delight of her opponents, and the dismay of the federalist supporters who created her job, the lacklustre performance of Baroness Ashton of Upholland after more than a year in office has earned her the nickname “the invisible woman”.
The Sunday Telegraph has learned that Baroness Ashton, who was pushed into the plum position during Gordon Brown’s last few months in office, is formally requesting a 5.8 per cent budget increase next year – an extra €27 million – to pay the spiralling wage bill of the new European External Affairs Service, around 100 of whose diplomats earn more than the British foreign secretary.
Baroness Ashton’s supporters argue that to run a truly effective foreign service – “Europe’s State Department”, as they like to call it – she needs a bigger budget; her detractors accuse her of committing too much money in an effort to woo high calibre staff with lavish perks and salaries.
Staff costs have proved to be highly controversial for the new service, which pays top ambassadors €188,000 (£165,000). Around 100 officials earn more than the £134,565 salary paid to William Hague, the Foreign Secretary.

Read in full here.

Related posts:
Deadly crackdown of protesters in #Libya … paging EU’s Catherine Ashton, where are you? |Saturday, February 19, 2011 

US Embassy Baku: Can your ambassador jump like this?

We are a sucker for uncommon photos of our public officials.  The one below, a couple months late is of US Ambassador Matt Bryza during the Novruz Bayramı in Azerbaijan.

Ambassador Matt Bryza
Photo from US Embassy Baku/FB

The event was held at the ambassador’s residence on the occasion of Nowruz holiday, a spring celebration also called Nowruz Bayramı (presumably pronounced as you would in Türkçe). The ambassador gave a speech and congratulated Azerbaijani nation on the occasion of Nowruz Holiday. The ambassador and guests then jumped over a bonfire and made their wishes.

Now, my question is — can your ambassador jump over a bonfire like this and look like he or she is having the time of his/her life?  Note to aspiring ambassadors — there’s more to being an ambassador than just jaw-jaw, okay?    


Officially Moved: Amb. Carlos Pascual to be Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs

On May 6, 2011, Secretary Clinton appointed Ambassador Carlos Pascual as the Department of State Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs. Ambassador Pascual will assume his duties on May 18. According to the media note:

He will advise the Secretary on implementing international energy policy. One of his first tasks will be to design and establish a new Bureau for Energy Resources that will elevate and unify energy diplomacy within the Department of State.

Most recently, Ambassador Pascual served as the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. As both a diplomat and former vice president of the Brookings Institution, he has more than two decades of diplomatic, public policy, and academic experience in addressing the centrality of energy issues to our national interests and the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.

Special envoys do not need Senate confirmations, so he should be off and running as soon as he gets back to the mother ship.

He would succeed David L. Goldwyn, the Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs from August 2009 to January 2011.

Mr. Goldwyn was appointed by Secretary Clinton and was sworn in on August 17, 2009. On August 30, 2010, Secretary Clinton announced that Mr. Goldwyn will carry the concurrent titles of Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs.  Prior to his appointment, Mr. Goldwyn was President of Goldwyn International Strategies LLC (GIS), an international energy consulting firm from 2001-2009. reported in late April that Mr. Goldwyn has joined ex-head of the UK’s secret intelligence service MI6, Sir John McLeod Scarlett and Hassan Marican, former boss of Malaysia’s Petronas in Statoil’s newly created Strategic Advisory Committee, that will advise the Norwegian state oil company’s ventures in the international arena.

Pakistan puts temporary hold on media visas, gags "illegal" broadcasts from Abbottabad

Image via WikipediaThe Guardian reported the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad based on local TV stations who named the specific official in Pakistan. We have stripped the name from the extract below for obvious reasons.

If true that the CIA chief had been outed by the ISI, that’s going to make a bad situation, exceptionally worse.  And gagging the media, of course, will make the embarrassing Bin Laden news go away. True dat.

Via the Guardian:

The Pakistani government has introduced curbs on international media in the garrison town where Osama bin Laden was killed, ordering television stations to cease broadcasting and some reporters to leave town.

On Saturday night the television regulator, Pemra, ordered nine international channels, including the BBC, CNN and Fox, to stop “illegal” broadcasts from Abbottabad, where Bin Laden’s house has been the subject of intense media coverage

It suggested the channels could not broadcast from Abbottabad or anywhere in Pakistan without obtaining a licence, a previously unknown requirement. Simultaneously, government officials contacted several British, Australian and American journalists, instructing them to leave Abbottabad because their visas did not permit them to stay.

The government also took measures to stop more journalists entering Pakistan. At diplomatic missions in London and New Delhi, Pakistani officials said there was a temporary hold on media visas.

The measures appeared to be part of a concerted government effort to stem a tide of critical media coverage over thorny questions about how Bin Laden lived for up to six years in a garrison town that is home to three regiments, a military academy and thousands of soldiers.
Until now most western criticism has been directed at Pakistan’s military and intelligence agencies. Some US officials have insinuated that the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) helped to harbour Bin Laden.

Now the ISI is hitting back with judicious media leaks. In a move bound to infuriate the US, on Friday several Pakistani television stations named the CIA station chief in Islamabad as [REDACTED]; the stations said he had been given a verbal roasting by the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha.

The naming is sensitive because the previous CIA chief in Islamabad quit his position over security worries last December after being named in a court case and the national media. Some US officials blamed the ISI for the leak.

Active links added above. Read in full here.