James Hogan Case: A Royal Hurricane Shit Storm of Pain for All to Read

This blog has followed the James Hogan case since September 2009 when the Foreign Service officer was first reported missing in the Netherlands Antilles.  In March 2012, USDOJ announced that Abby Beard Hogan, 50, pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Florida for her role in the obstruction of a multinational investigation into the disappearance of her husband in Curacao.

The Scared Monkeys Forum recently posted some of the court documents related to this case, including the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum where it requests that the Court “impose a sentence within the applicable guideline range of 27-33 months.”

The memorandum fills in some of the details that we did not know about this story including how soon and how many agents were deployed in the search for James Hogan following his immediate disappearance and the fact that Mrs.Hogan apparently was the last person he talked to via phone before he disappeared. Excerpt via:

Within 48 hours, the U.S. government began dispatching agents from multiple domestic and foreign locations, eventually mobilizing approximately 25 agents within the first two weeks.  The Dutch and Antillean governments reacted similarly, committing significant resources to find James Hogan in the largest search in the history of the Netherland Antilles.

To this date, the disappearance of James Hogan remains unsolved, and Defendant has failed to reveal the truth of what happened that night, even declining a government request to speak after her guilty plea. Most significantly, Defendant has never told the truth about the last confirmed phone call from James Hogan after he left the house. Defendant’s claim in her March 2010 interview that she could not remember the nearly three-minute conversation because she was “groggy” is undeniably false, as her internet activity proves she was not asleep when her husband called and that she was alert enough to sign into her email account within minutes of concluding that call. This uncertainty and lack of closure has affected her family, including her children, see Email 70, and James Hogan’s mother and siblings.

A more detailed narrative of what happened is below. The full account is available here:

Sometime after 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2009, James Hogan – the Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate in the Caribbean island of Curacao – left his residence in the capital city of Willemstad. Shortly after midnight on Friday, September 25, James Hogan’s cell phone (located near a tourist resort called “Lion’s Dive”) called Defendant Abby Hogan. That two minute, 58-second phone call is the last confirmed contact with James Hogan. Later that afternoon, a recreational diver discovered a pair of jeans with bloodstains, a pair of socks, and a pair of tennis shoes at a rocky beach area in Curacao known as Blue Rock. Dutch law enforcement also discovered blood on the beach and on rocks near the shore; the blood on the jeans and rocks matched James Hogan’s DNA. Investigators found James Hogan’s cell phone and a knife in the water near the blood-stained rocks. James Hogan’s body has never been found, and he is presumed dead.

American, Dutch, and Antillean officials mobilized immediately in an effort to locate James Hogan or to prevent the disposal of his body. Their primary source of information was Defendant Abby Hogan – James Hogan’s wife – who was the last known person to see or speak to him. In at least five interviews over the course of six months, Defendant told U.S. and Dutch law enforcement essentially the same story: that the evening James disappeared had been normal; that James had been in a good mood, nothing had been bothering him, and there were no marital problems. Defendant claimed that James had taken his normal evening walk and that she had taken a sleeping pill and slept through the evening. She was awakened briefly after midnight by a call from James to her cell phone. She could not remember anything from the nearly three minute conversation except that he was still out walking and she should leave the door unlocked.  She then fell back asleep and did not notice he was missing until the next morning. After her initial statement, Defendant amended her story to add that: (1) James had been worried that a recently-fired Consulate employee with a criminal record might seek revenge; and (2) someone had interrupted James during the midnight phone call.

Subsequent investigation, however, revealed that Defendant’s version of events was completely false. Defendant’s own emails (see Attach. 1) provide a timeline of events leading up to Hogan’s disappearance and disclose a household in turmoil. In March, 2009, Defendant reconnected with her high school boyfriend “Mike” (Attach. 1; Email 1). By early June, Defendant was planning a trip to Gainesville to see him (Email 2: “Do you understand I want to sleep with you?”); on August, 17, 2009, Defendant consummated the affair in Florida (Email 6).  Even before returning to Curacao, Defendant broached the idea of leaving her husband for her lover. See, e.g. Email 7 (8/27/09: “If there’s any way I can do it we are going to be together).  Within days of her return to Curacao, Defendant began exploring her options. See, e.g. Email 11  (9/1/09 email to sister asking about career options in Florida); Email 17 (9/8/09 email to friend “I’m thinking of leaving my 23+ year marriage”). Defendant, however, was concerned that James might “react very strongly” to her leaving (Email 13; Email 19); See also Email 21: (“will Jim let me leave”).

Upon her return, James Hogan became suspicious of his wife’s behavior and began asking questions about her trip. Email 10, 18, 23. Eventually, James caught his wife in a lie about seeing her high school boyfriend (Email 23), and two days before his disappearance, James discussed the lie in an email exchange (Email 25). On the night he disappeared, James Hogan used Defendant’s pink Dell laptop to make a Skype video call to his step-daughter. Afterwards, sometime around 9:00 pm, he saw Defendant’s emails, including her emails to her lover. Email 49. At 9:20 pm, four emails were forwarded from Defendant’s email account to James Hogan’s email account. See Email 33-36. These contained references to the affair. See, e.g. Email 28 & 36 (“it is very difficult for me to pretend to love him [James] when my heart is there with you.  To have sex when I don’t feel the love behind it.”) An argument ensued, which led Defendant to email her lover: “jim knows everything. it’s awful.” Email 37. During the argument, Defendant “refused to call” her lover and break off the relationship, as her husband requested, and as a result she might have “caused something terrible to happen.” Email 36.

Via Scared Monkeys Forum

Via Scared Monkeys Forum

Via Scared Monkeys Forum

More than a couple hundred emails were retrieved.  Some are posted here, a few are quite graphic, and includes some of the email exchange with the “other man” on the weeks following James’ disappearance and while the search was ongoing.

Even the other man’s concern of causing a “royal hurricane shit storm of pain” to others is an understatement.  One man is presumed dead. And life is never the same again for their children. The wife of the missing diplomat in her response to the sentencing memorandum cites the toll of constant relocation on her marriage as giving the wrong perception that the Hogans were “somehow distant or unresponsive.” The court document argues that “The correct perception, which should have been formed by those observing the Hogan family, is that they were intelligent, independent, and very adept at adjusting to difficult circumstances.”

At least one member appears to be extremely adept.  So far we have not been able to find a record of her sentencing. Our previous posts on this sad, tragic and tawdry saga are here.





Quickie: Can American Diplomacy Ever Come Out of Its Bunker?

Via the NYT:

The barriers are there for a reason: Stevens’s death attests to that, as do those of Americans in Beirut, Baghdad and other violent places. But the reaction to the attack in Benghazi crystallized a sense among many diplomats that risks are less acceptable in Washington than they once were, that the mantra of “security” will only grow louder. As a result, some of the country’s most distinguished former ambassadors are now asking anew what diplomacy can achieve at such a remove.

“No one has sat back to say, ‘What are our objectives?’ ” said Prudence Bushnell, who was ambassador to Kenya when the Qaeda bombing took place there in 1998, killing more than 200 people and injuring 4,000. “The model has become, we will go to dangerous places and transform them, and we will do it from secure fortresses. And it doesn’t work.”

Read in full here.





Foggy Bottom Race: And the next Secretary of State is ….well, go ahead and speculate

With the presidential election over, the parlor game on who will be the next secretary of state has officially intensified with Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), current chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and Susan Rice, current US Ambassador to the UN as front-runners. They are not the only ones mentioned but Kerry and Rice appears to be the the names that fuel the most media speculation.  “Unnamed officials” and “sources” are also working their media contacts, obviously with “inside” information highlighting their candidate’s prospects in this run for Foggy Bottom.

Senator John Kerry

One source quoted by Politico who is “familiar with the circumstances,” reported that Kerry “has the inside track,” having worked on President Obama’s debate-prep during the campaign.

Jezebel notes that the US hasn’t had a white male Secretary of State since 1997 and asks, “Is America ready?” It writes that “John Kerry’s tenure as the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been remarkably free of in-chamber shootings,” and concludes that “any testosterone-producing, low emotion man is a ticking time bomb.”

James Traub over at FP asks, Would John Kerry do a good job of filling Hillary Clinton’s shoes? Traub writes that “the same restraint and reserve which made him such an unsatisfying presidential candidate have also made him the kind of consummate diplomat whom the White House has counted on to soothe troubled waters in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, and elsewhere. [… If anyone can talk those guys off a ledge, it’s Kerry. […] Kerry has shortcomings. Who doesn’t? But I can’t think of anyone who would be better for the job.”

Hey! Even the Russians have a pick: “An unnamed source in the Russian foreign ministry told the Kommersant business daily that Moscow would “much prefer” to see Mr. Kerry take the post.

Yesterday, WaPo reported that President Obama is “considering John Kerry for job of defense secretary.” Apparently, Senator Kerry is surprised about the buzz that he is being considered as possible SecDef.


Ambassador Susan Rice

James Traub who wrote the “Secretary Kerry” piece over at FP explains why Ambassador Rice may not be the best choice: “Susan Rice is a pugnacious team player who, like Donilon, is more insider than outsider, and is notably deficient in that unctuous fluid which issues from the pores of professional diplomats.”

New York Times cites one administration characterizing Rice as “crippled” having been a favorite Republican target since she provided the administration’s initial accounts on the Benghazi attack.

Bloomberg News claimed she had emerged as the odds-on favorite blaring, UN Envoy Susan Rice Is Top Candidate to Succeed Clinton.  She is reportedly emerging as the “favored candidate” even with her baggage on Benghazi: “Six current or former White House officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said Rice remains close to President Barack Obama and shares many of his views on foreign policy.”

Today, the NYT also reports that “Ms. Rice, an outspoken, ambitious diplomat with close ties to Mr. Obama, has emerged as the clear favorite.”

WaPo adds that “senior administration officials familiar with the transition planning said that nomination will almost certainly go to Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.”


National Security Advisor Tom Donilon

According to Traub’s FP piece, the current U.S. National Security Advisor “is a highly competent administrator who would die of impatience halfway through an interminable lunch with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.”

Now we can’t have that, can we?

The National Interest reported that “…in 2008 Donilon was considered for deputy secretary of state, but the Obama team thought that his previous role as in-house counsel to Fannie Mae was “toxic” and that he “might have serious problems in a Senate confirmation.”

Other names mentioned though not as loudly:

Bill Burns – currently Deputy Secretary of State, a respected career diplomat but not an Obama insider.

Chuck Hagel—the former Nebraska Senate Republican and co-chairman of President Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

Jon Huntsman – former Obama ambassador to China and GOP presidential primary contender 2012

Dick Lugar – Outgoing senator and soon to be former ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Moderate Voice writes: “Lugar would need no on the job training to become State secretary. He’s an old pro on the international stage and knows his way around Washington as well. He could take up the reins at the State Department with confidence. As a marathon runner who participated in one of the 26.2-mile races just a few weeks ago, he has the physical stamina for the job of chief US diplomat despite advancing years.” Senator Lugar is 80 years old.

Howard Berman – Outgoing chairman and ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. LAT writes that Berman who is 71, “has worked closely with the White House over four years on sensitive issues such as Iran and is known as competent and discreet, traits much prized by President Obama.”

How about a Colin Powell comeback?

George W. Bush’s first secretary of State has been speculated as a possible SecDef.  What about a comeback at State?  He endorsed President Obama in 2008 and again in 2012. Secretary Powell got the “The president would like to make a change” conversation eight days after George W. Bush’s second term reelection.  Don’t know if he would have stayed for the second term without that conversation but we know that he was mindful of the lasting blot on his record after that UN speech.  Another term as a secretary of state might help repair that damage?

But not a comeback for Condi Rice

Don’t call her maybe.  Condoleezza Rice already said she wouldn’t be interested in succeeding Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, even if asked to do so by President Barack Obama.




Benghazi Attack: Closed-Door Briefings and Hearings All This Week

The Hill reports that three congressional panels will be holding closed-door briefings this week with administration officials at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Nov.13), the Senate homeland security panel (Nov.14) and the House and Senate intelligence panels (Nov.15). State Department officials are reportedly scheduled to brief the chairmen and ranking members of several House committees with jurisdiction over national security.

For two State Department officials, this week will be a packed schedule on the Hill.

  • Tuesday (Nov 13): Under Secretary Kennedy and Assistant Secretary Boswell will brief members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
  • Wednesday (Nov 14): Under Secretary Kennedy and Assistant Secretary Boswell will brief members of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
  • Thursday AM (Nov 15):  Under Secretary Kennedy will testify in a closed hearing before the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee
  • Thursday PM (Nov 15): Under Secretary Kennedy will testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
  • Friday AM (Nov 16): Under Secretary Kennedy will brief Chairmen and ranking members from the House

During the House Oversight Committee hearing on October 10, U/S Kennedy and Charlene Lamb (Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs) testified on behalf of the State Department.  The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security and Director of the Diplomatic Security Service Scott P. Bultrowicz, the most senior special agent did not testify.  Neither did Eric J. Boswell, the Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, the top guy at Diplomatic Security, and who by the way, also reports directly to U/S Kennedy.

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearings is “To Review Circumstances Surrounding September 11, 2012, Terrorist Attack in Libya and Intelligence and Security in Region”  and will focus on:

  • The intelligence collection and threat reporting relating to Libya and other Middle East countries prior to the September 11 attack, how and when that information was disseminated, and what actions were taken in response;
  • What is now known about the events of September 11, who was responsible for the attack, and what efforts are being made to find and hold those responsible to account;
  •  The Intelligence Community’s collection capabilities in the Middle East and North Africa, to include the levels of funding and availability of intelligence personnel with language and other skills necessary to operate in that part of the world; and
  • The level and adequacy of security at the State Department and other U.S. government facilities in the Middle East and North Africa, and whether current arrangements for providing security at these facilities are appropriate.

The House Intelligence Committee (also a closed hearing) will reportedly have Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Matt Olsen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, CIA Director David Petraeus Acting Director Michael Morell and the State Department’s Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy who is probably the lowest ranked official among those invited.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) will also have a November 15 closed hearing on “Benghazi and Beyond: What Went Wrong on September 11, 2012 and How to Prevent it from Happening at other Frontline Posts” and currently has two witnesses listed:

  • Mr. Michael Courts, Acting Director, International Affairs and Trade, Government Accountability Office
  • Mr. William Young, Senior Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation

The Hill is however reporting that Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), who has the inside track on the gavel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the 113th Congress, has “promised his Republican colleagues he would conduct a vigorous investigation of Libya.” Would have been much preferable if he promised the “American public” not just his “Republican colleagues” but it is what it is. We’ll see what happens next year.

We should note that the congressionally mandated Accountability Review Board for the Benghazi Attack started work the week of October 3.  Unless Ambassador Pickering requires additional time for the Board, the report and recommendations should be available to the Secretary at the end of the specified 60 day mark, which would be the week of December 3 or thereabouts.  The report presumably will be made available to the public given the interest on this case but for sure, it will also have a restricted classified annex given the other component.





Happy 237th Birthday United States Marine Corps!

Since November 10, 1775, the men and women of the Marine Corps have served our country with uncommon valor and distinction. And every year U.S. Embassy employees around the world express their respect and deep appreciation for the mission of the U.S. Marine Corps and the role they play in securing diplomatic missions around the world.

Below is Ambassador Theodore Britton who served as the chief of mission to Barbados and to the Eastern Caribbean from 1974-1977. In 2011 he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, for his duty as part of the first set of black Marines who received basic training at Montford Point, a facility at Camp Lejeune, N.C., between 1942 and 1949.

Did you know that the first African-American U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Theodore Britton joined the Marine Corps on January 14, 1944 and fought in World War II. Ambassador Britton (center left), here with Ambassador Larry Palmer and some members of the Marine Corps, was a guest speaker at the Marine Ball recently.
(Photo via US Embassy Barbados)

An American diplomatic mission to Grenada was established on February 25, 1975, when Ambassador Theodore R. Britton presented his credentials in St. George’s, Grenada. He also was Ambassador to Barbados, and was resident at Bridgetown.

US Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel H. Díaz Resigns, Rejoins University of Dayton

The resignation of Ambassador Diaz was not officially announced by the US Embassy to the Holy See until November 7 but the news actually made it out on Monday and was widely reported by Catholic news outlet since his farewell call to the Pope with his wife was listed in the Vatican’s daily press bulletin:

S.E. il Signor Miguel Humberto Díaz, Ambasciatore degli Stati Uniti d’America presso la Santa Sede, con la Consorte, in visita di congedo.

Ambassador Diaz with Pope Benedict XVI
Via US Embassy to the Holy See/FB

Via the National Catholic Register

The United States Ambassador to the Holy See made a farewell visit to Pope Benedict XVI today.

Ambassador Miguel Diaz is leaving his position after just over three years’ service representing the Obama administration.

An embassy spokesman said he would probably be leaving Rome at the weekend to take up a teaching position at the University of Dayton, OH.

The embassy said the move had been in the pipeline for a while, and that it had planned to announce the ambassador’s departure after the Presidential Elections tomorrow, but as the farewell visit took place today, the Vatican pre-empted the disclosure by making an announcement in its daily bulletin. Ambassador Diaz, who was formally sworn in on August 21st, 2009, has nevertheless fulfilled the usual term for ambassadors which is commonly two to three years.

Read in full here.

Ambassador Díaz is the first Hispanic to represent the United States at the Vatican. Born in Havana, Cuba, Díaz moved as a child to the United States, where his family worked hard to move ahead. His father worked as a waiter and his mother did data entry work, and their son was the first member of the family to attend college. Díaz earned his bachelor’s degree from Saint Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida, and his master’s and doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He previously taught at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida; Saint Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida; the University of Dayton in Ohio; and at Notre Dame.  Fluent in Italian, Spanish and French, Ambassador Díaz also reads Greek, Latin and German. His academic interests also include theological anthropology and Latino/Latina theologies.  He was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador on August 21st, 2009.

Here is the announcement posted in the US Embassy’s FB page:

Ambassador Miguel H. Díaz Departs Post | November 7, 2012

VATICAN CITY — Miguel H. Díaz, United States Ambassador to the Holy See since 2009, will leave his position following the presidential elections and return to academia effective the week of November 13, 2012. Ambassador Diaz was proud to serve almost three and a half years in his position as the 9th U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. He will join his family in Dayton, Ohio, where he has been named University Professor of Faith and Culture at the University of Dayton.

“As Ambassador, I have had the pleasure of representing the people of the United States to the Holy See, and to develop our already strong cooperation,” Ambassador Diaz said. During his tenure at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, he was influential in promoting the shared values of the United States and the Holy See in peace, justice, and human rights.

Ambassador Diaz helped launch the Religion in Foreign Policy Working Group of the Secretary of State’s Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society. The Working Group facilitates regular dialogue between the U.S. foreign policy establishment and religious leaders, scholars, and practitioners worldwide on strategies to build more effective partnerships on a wide range of goals, including conflict prevention, humanitarian assistance, and national security.

“The working group is an unprecedented initiative that demonstrates the administration’s commitment to involve religious leaders in shaping U.S. foreign policy; I am proud to take an active role to ensure its success,” he said.

The Embassy will be headed by the Chargé d’Affaires, until a new Ambassador is nominated by the Administration and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

This is the second noncareer ambassador’s resignation in the last two weeks and the first one since President Obama’s historic reelection.  Ambassador Diaz is rejoining the University of Dayton where he previously taught.

Related News:

US Embassy Caracas: Former FSN Pleads Guilty for Receiving Illegal Gratuity

In May 2012, we blogged about a US Embassy employee in Caracas, Venezuela who was was arrested in Washington, D.C., on one charge of conspiracy and two charges of bribery in connection with visa applications scheme (see US Embassy Caracas FSN Arrested on Conspiracy/Bribery Charges in Visa Applications Scheme)

On Wednesday, USDOJ announced that the former employee, Christian Adolfo Paredes Uzcategui, 44, of Caracas, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Below is the statement released:

WASHINGTON – A former visa assistant for the United States Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, pled guilty today to a federal charge of receiving an illegal gratuity by a public official, stemming from a scheme in which he allegedly accepted payments to aid people in facilitating visa applications, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Scott Bultrowicz, Director of the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, announced.

Christian Adolfo Paredes Uzcategui, 44, of Caracas, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable James E. Boasberg scheduled sentencing for Dec. 7, 2012. The charge carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Paredes was arrested in May 2012 following an investigation by the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

According to a statement of facts, signed by the defendant as well as the government, Paredes worked for the State Department at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas as a visa assistant for non-immigrant visa applications. His duties included screening incoming documentation and information from a variety of sources to organize and track non-immigrant visa requests and ensuring that the legal requirements of non-immigrant visa applications were met.

As a visa assistant, he had access to Embassy databases, but only for official business and on a need-to-know basis. He was not to share this information without official permission.

In the middle of 2011, Paredes began receiving money from a private individual who acted as a “facilitator” for Venezuelan applicants seeking non-immigrant U.S. visas. In exchange, Paredes provided information about the facilitator’s clients. Between March 2011 and February 2012, the facilitator wire-transferred more than $5,000 to bank accounts controlled by Paredes in exchange for information about clients.

In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Director Bultrowicz commended the efforts of those who investigated the case for the Diplomatic Security Service. They also praised those who worked on the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Columbia, including Special Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Mudd.

The original statement is posted here.






Election Night 2012 Roundup — What a Party!

Just when we were all feeling like the Bronco Bama girl, the elections ended just like that.  President Obama was re-elected with a wide margin in the electoral college contrary to what the pundits were predicting and in line with the  smart numbers guys who knew their numbers here, here and here.  He was re-elected with a 7.9% unemployment rate, the highest of any president returned to office since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.  Next to Bill Clinton, he became only the second Democrat since Roosevelt to win another term.

An interesting global poll conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA between July 3 and September 3, 2012, indicates that Obama is preferred to Romney in 20 of the 21 countries polled:

“Of all the countries polled, France is currently the most strongly pro-Obama, with 72 per cent wanting him to be re-elected and just 2 per cent preferring Romney. Australia (67%), Canada (66%), Nigeria (66%), and the UK (65%) are among the other countries with large majorities favouring Obama.

Pakistan, where 14 per cent want to see Romney elected compared to 11 per cent who prefer Obama, is the only country where the current President is not the favoured candidate—but here, three-quarters (75%) express no opinion. The countries with the largest proportions favouring Mitt Romney are Kenya (18%) and Poland (16%).

Around the world, there were election viewing events and parties at our embassies and consulates on November 6. Here are some of them:

US Embassy Wellington, New Zealand

Via US Embassy NZ/FB
(click on photo above to view the slideshow)

US Embassy Santiago, Chile

Via US Embassy Santiago/FB
(click on photo above to see more)

US Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan

An the election watching party with Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam.

Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson with Lady Liberty and guests at the Election Day watch party
(click on photo to view slideshow)

Via US Mission Pakistan/FB
(Click on photo above to view more photos)

US Consulate General Karachi, Pakistan

Before the elections, Consul General Michael Dodman also hosted a  “Rock the Vote” event “for a fun, interactive discussion of democracy and the U.S. voting system.”

Via USCG Karachi
(click on photo to see more)

US Embassy Baghdad, Iraq

Ambassador Beecroft interviewed by #AP and #alhurra at U.S. Embassy election day event
Photo via @USEmbBaghdad
(click on image to see more photos)

US Embassy Canberra, Australia

The US Embassy in Canberra even had mock balloting.  “The room has voted overwhelmingly in favour of Obama/Biden with 85 votes, versus Romney/Ryan with 19. Amusingly, Ambassador Bleich also managed to pick up 14 votes!”

Ambassador Bleich joins Lyndal Curtis on stage — at National Press Club of Australia.
(click on image above for more photos)

US Embassy New Delhi, India

Via US Embassy New Delhi/FB
(click on image above for more photos)

US Embassy Moscow, Russia

Via US Embassy Moscow/FB
(click on image above to see more photos)

US Embassy London

At the Election Night 2012 party at the U.S. Embassy London, not only was Elvis in the building, he was at the door!

Via US Embassy London/FB

And that last one with Elvis is probably my favorite; now gotta get some more sleep.




US Embassy Port of Spain: Ambassador Beatrice Welters Resigns

The announcement about this latest resignation came from the US Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago:

Ambassador Beatrice W. Welters has resigned her post effective November 2, 2012 after serving as U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago for two and a half years. The Ambassador’s resignation is in keeping with the common practice of political appointees resigning prior to the Presidential election.

Ambassador Welters is looking forward to returning to her family and to her foundations in the United States, which work to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth. She will continue to work with NGOs here in Trinidad and Tobago in her private capacity.

In a message to the Embassy community she said: “I will leave this posting with a great sense of pride in what we have been able to achieve. Together our team at the Embassy has reached new heights in the areas of diplomatic engagement and cultural exchange here in Trinidad and Tobago and a lifetime of new friendships.”

Ambassador Beatrice W. Welters, Major Lawrence Wilson and DCM David Wolfe. Major Wilson is the father of Private First Class LeRon Adrian Wilson, a Trinidad and Tobago national who joined the U.S. Army and served in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom. He was killed in Iraq at the age of 18.
(Photo from US Embassy Port of Spain)


Actually, I thought the common practice is for all ambassadors (career and political) to tender their resignation when a new President is elected.  The career folks are usually kept on to the end of their three-year tours and political ambassadors turn over because the new President wants to bring in new people.

I imagine that if President Obama is reelected, there’s no need to submit those resignation letters.  But if there is a President Romney, all ambassadors need to have those letters in.

While it is not unheard of for political ambassadors to resign prior to the elections, as with the former ambassador to the Bahamas Nicole Avant, that typically happens long before the election (Avant resigned last year). In which case, they can go back to private life and actively support their candidate.

Ambassador Welters resignation was announced on October 25, 2012 and took effect on November 2, 2012.

Back in 2009, this is a post that actually made me write, Sunday Tanka: At Embassy Port of Spain.

Am I missing anything here?


Related post:

That did not work out very well, did it? US Embassy Port of Spain Sets Record/s




GOP Connie Mack IV Wants Nonexistent UN Election Monitors to Observe “Banana Republics” Not U.S.

FP’s  Joshua Keating recently reported that Florida Rep. Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV aka: Connie Mack IV (Republican for the 14th district), currently running for a senate seat has called for the United Nations to be defunded and “kicked off U.S. soil.”

Dear United Nations, what did you do to this man?

Here is what Mack’s campaign sent out:

MIAMI – U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Connie Mack and Chairman of the House Western Hemisphere Subcommittee today strongly condemned reports that the United Nations is preparing to monitor the upcoming U.S. election – a function usually reserved for third-world countries, banana republics and fledgling democracies.

Mack said:

“The very idea that the United Nations – the world body dedicated to diminishing America’s role in the world — would be allowed, if not encouraged, to install foreigners sympathetic to the likes of Castro, Chavez, Ahmadinejad and Putin to oversee our elections is nothing short of disgusting.“

For years the United Nations has aggressively worked against the best interests of our country and many of our allies. The UN’s actions and intentions toward the United States have been nothing short of reprehensible.

“Every American should be outraged by this news. The United States must defund the United Nations. The United Nations should be kicked off of American soil once and for all. And the American people should demand that the United Nations be stopped from ‘monitoring’ American elections. The only ones who should ever oversee American elections are Americans.”

And — according to Tampa Bay Times, in case we miss it the first round, Mack’s campaign said that the U.N. monitoring “should be reserved for third-world countries, banana republics and fledgling democracies.”

They’re talking about those countries where income inequality stretches a mile, where there is a slim or nonexistent middleclass and where plutocrats are a rare breed sitting atop a pyramid or something?

Hey, waaaait a minute — is Congressman Mack IV also ranting about those OSCE election monitors masquerading as United Nations observers?

Holy mother of goat and all her genius nephews! We’ve written previously about the fears of quantum elections in Texas over those OSCE election observers.  The senate candidate from Florida is certainly entitled to his own outrage but we’re horrified that he could not get the target of his outrage well, straight. OSCE man, OSCE not the UN.

:Sigh: — and this is the guy who wants to replace Bill Nelson as one of Florida’s senators to the “world’s greatest deliberative body.”

Connie Mack IV

While you’re digesting that thought, here are some photos of Senator McCain (who apparently was close with Mack’s father, former Congressman and Senator Connie Mack III and campaigned with Mack IV) observing the elections in Libya this year (right there in the polling station, too), writing: “I had the honor of observing Libya’s first free elections in 60 years – an extraordinary achievement for the Libyan people.”

(Click on image for more photos)


Holycrap! One of our senators observing real democracy in action! And just as good as in the movies!

It looks like Florida’s 14th district pride is behind in the polls, but if there is a Senator McGillicuddy IV in after Tuesday’s election, we’ll be in a lookout for his trips to bananaland.

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Oops! What’s this?  Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R) was on MSNBC earlier today sharply criticizing the confusion and long lines at some Florida polling places and said:

“I don’t know what went on in Florida, but I do have to say that in this day and age, it’s inexcusable that in this country, we have anything like this going on.” she said. “I’ve led delegations around the world to watch voting and this is the kind of thing you expect in a third-world country, not in the United States of America.”