US Embassy Manila on Anikow Murder: Nobody “served a day for that brutal crime.”

— Domani Spero
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In November 2012, we blogged about the murder of a spouse of a U.S. diplomat assigned to the US embassy in the Philippines (see US Embassy Manila: George Anikow, Diplomatic Spouse Killed in Early Morning Altercation; and George Anikow Murder: “A Macho Against Macho Issue” Says Philippine Police).

In an interview last week with Philippine media, Ambassador Philip Goldberg expressed disappointment over the disposition of the murder case:

In an interview with ANC, Goldberg said nobody “served a day for that brutal crime.”  The diplomat is referring to the murder of US Marine Major George Anikow’s killing on November 24, 2012 at a security checkpoint in Bel-Air. The incident was partly captured in a security camera. Charged were Juan Alfonso Abastillas, Osric Cabrera, Galicano Datu III, and Crispin de la Paz.

Goldberg noted only two suspects were convicted of homicide “but were given probation” by the trial court. The two others got scot free from any charges. […] He said it’s been hard explaining to the family as to “why this happened in a case of very brutal murder.”

The Philippine Justice Department had reportedly filed murder charges previously against the four suspects who, according to reports, come from well-to-do families — Juan Alfonso Abastillas, 24; Crispin dela Paz, 28; Osric Cabrera, 27; and Galicano Datu III, 22.

News report from the Philippines indicate that the victim’s sister, Mary Anikow and his 77 year-old mother traveled to Manila to observed the trial in 2013.  “The United States is not perfect; everyone knows this. But most people generally don’t get away with murder,” Ms Anikow said.

Ambassador Goldberg in the ANC interview said that the Philippine Department of Justice promised the embassy there could be something done with regard to the probation. “But it has been appealed once, and it was denied. So it looks like it’s the end of the road,” he said.

‘Well-to-do kids accused in murder of American diplomat’s husband get visas to study in the United States’ — please, can we at least make sure we don’t end up with a headline like that?

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In the Foreign Service: Death, Too Close An Acquaintance

This past week saw the death of a member of a local guard force at the US Embassy in Ankara.  Nomads By Nature who blogs from Ankara writes that the guard who died when the suicide bomber detonated the bomb at the embassy entrance, Mustafa Akarsu was a 46-year-old security guard at the embassy.  He left behind a wife, an 18 year old son, and a 15 year old daughter. “He put duty ahead and confronted the bomber in that initial checkpoint, hollering out a warning to the others as he did so.

This has been a reality for the Foreign Service, not just for the American employees and family members but also for the locally hired employees, and host country police officers tasked to guard our people and diplomatic facilities overseas.  AFSA has a long list on its memorial plaque of American officers lost dating back to 1780 when William Palfrey was lost at sea.  We don’t think there is a memorial plaque just for local employees. We lost so many of them in Beirut one year, and more another year. We lost many more during the twin bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Since 2008, this blog has attempted to keep track of the violent deaths related to the State Department overseas.  Since we mostly worked through publicly available material, we are pretty confident that we have covered FS employee/family-related incidents (missing, suicide, attacks).  We are also sure our list covering local national casualties are incomplete because those do not always make the news.

Apologies if we missed anyone.  If you know anyone not listed below kindly please add the information in the comment section.

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Feb 2013  – Mustafa Akarsu, Local Guard Force (Ankara, Turkey): investigation is still ongoing. Hurriyet Daily News has some additional details here.

Jan 2013 – Christopher “Norm” Bates, Foreign Service  (Johannesburg, South Africa): case is open and ongoing.

US Mission South Africa: FS Employee Christopher Bates Dead in Jo’burg

Nov 2012 – George Anikow, Foreign Service/EFM (Manila, Philippines): four alleged perpetrators are currently in Philippine court system.

US Embassy Manila:  George Anikow, Diplomatic Spouse Killed in Early Morning Altercation

October  2012 – Qassim Aklan, Foreign Service National (Sana’a, Yemen)

US Embassy Yemen: FSN Qassim Aklan Killed in Motorcycle Drive-by Shooting

 

Sept 2012

  • J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service (Benghazi, Libya)
  • Sean Smith, Foreign Service (Benghazi, Libya)
  • Tyrone Woods, Contractor (Benghazi, Libya)
  • Glen Doherty, Contractor (Benghazi, Libya)

Outrage! Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others killed in Benghazi, Libya

August 2012 – Ragaei Abdelfattah, USAID (Kunar, Afghanistan)

US Mission Afghanistan: USAID Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah, Four Others Killed, Two Wounded in Suicide Attack in Kunar

May 2012 – George Gaines, Foreign Service (Bridgetown, Barbados)

US Embassy Barbados: Death of the Regional Security Officer

February 2011 – Khairy Ramadan Aly, Foreign Service National (Cairo, Egypt)

US Embassy Cairo Local Employee Confirmed Dead with Three Bullet Holes

March 2010 –  Lesley A. Enriquez, Foreign Service National (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico): one gang leader extradited from Mexico

 

January 2010

  • Victoria DeLong, Foreign Service (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
  • Laurence Wyllie, Foreign Service/EFM (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
  • Baptiste Wyllie (5),  Foreign Service/EFM (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
  • Evan Wyllie (7), Foreign Service/EFM (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)

State Dept Reports Death of FSO in Haiti Earthquake

Three FS Family Members Perished in Haiti Quake

September 2009 – James Hogan, Foreign Service (Curacao, Netherlands Antilles): still missing, more blog posts archived here.

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

May 2009 Terrence Barnich, State Department  (Fallujah, Iraq)

US Embassy Baghdad Employees Killed by IED

February 2009 – Brian Adkins, Foreign Service (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia): a local man reportedly pleaded guilty to the murder but we have no information whether the murderer was sentenced.

One of Ours is Dead in Addis Ababa

January 2008 

  • John M. Granville, USAID (Khartoum, Sudan): convicted murderers still at large
  • Abdel Rahman Abbas, USAID/FSN (Khartoum, Sudan) convicted murderers still at large

How much does a US diplomat’s life worth? About $1,800 US dollars, and look there’s no raging mob…

 

For the Foreign Service, the six degrees of separation is acutely much closer.  As such, death is often too close an acquaintance.

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George Anikow Murder: “A Macho Against Macho Issue” Says Philippine Police

The Marine Corps Times has additional details about George Anikow, a US Marine and spouse of US Embassy diplomat, Laura Anikow who was killed in Makati last weekend.

Anikow, of Monmouth, N.J., served eight years as an infantry officer on active duty after his commissioning in 1994 and was working as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee in a joint billet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Maj. Kate S. Vanden Bossche, a Marine Forces Reserve spokeswoman in New Orleans. The assignment allowed him to drill as a reservist and work in the Philippines, she said.
[…]
In recent years, Anikow was mobilized twice as a civil affairs officer, including a nine-month combat tour in Afghanistan in 2009, according to Marine Corps records. While there, he served with the 4th Civil Affairs Group. During his earlier active-duty time, Anikow deployed on the amphibious assault ship Guam during the 1996 operations Joint Endeavor and Assured Response.

He received numerous military awards, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal, two awards of the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, three awards of the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

According to the Philippine Inquirer, the Makati police denied reports that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation  is conducting a parallel probe on this murder.  The Makati police chief, by the way, is reportedly a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia:

“There is no parallel investigation. The FBI is not meddling in the case,” Lukban said, adding that a US government official had just contacted him about minor details, such as the transport of Anikow’s body to the United States.

He said the US government had also promised technical assistance, including enhancing the CCTV footage the police had obtained.

The Philippine presidential office said it hoped the Anikow incident would not lead to a travel advisory against the Philippines. It’s Department of Foreign Affairs called the incident an “isolated case,” saying there is no reason for foreign diplomats in the country to feel unsafe.

A Diplomatic Security report indicates that from January to November 2011, the Philippine National Police recorded 230,817 crime incidents. This number represents a significant reduction in crimes compared to the reported total in 2009 which is 333,416. For 2011, physical assault and theft were the two largest contributors to the total number of incidents in a country of 7,100 islands inhabited by 94,852,030 people.

News from Manila seems to indicate that male pride was the motive behind the killing George Anikow outside an upscale subdivision.

“The suspects, being male, their pride was stepped on by another man. That’s the very simple reason for the incident,” Makati police chief Senior Supt Manuel Lukban explained during an interview.

“It seems their manhood was challenged. It became a macho against macho issue,” said Senior Superintendent Lukban.

Apparently the victim tapped on the car and that irked one of the alleged attackers. We have thought about the notion that a wounded male pride can lead to a murder and could not quite wrap our mind around that. Is life so cheap there that a perceived offense could not be resolved without spilling blood?  But this is also a country where you reportedly can even hire tandem hitmen for a little more than a couple hundred dollars.

Below is an excerpt from Get Real Philippines, a blog that should be part of FSI’s Overseas Briefing Center resources for FS employees researching about prospective assignment to the Philippines.

George Anikow murder: Violence is a broad and profound cultural condition in Philippine society

Again we encounter another instance of the violent nature of Filipinos — a people expats have for so long warned one shouldn’t cross as they (1) don’t fight fair and (2) hold deadly unshakable grudges. Last night saw the murder of George Anikow, a former US Marine officer and spouse of a US Embassy staff member allegedly in the hands of a gang of enraged Filipino men at the gate of posh Makati village Bel Air. What was initially a mild altercation between Anikow and the party of four young men reportedly turned into a brawl that left Anikow mortally wounded from stab wounds.

One can understand getting beat up in a brawl. But to wield a knife in one is just so, well, Pinoy. For a nation that idolises boxers, one wonders why the idea of fighting fair mano-y-mano seems lost in the typical Filipino male.
[..]
This is after all a nation where assassins riding tandem on motorcycles can be hired for a hit for no more than Php10,000 (a little more than USD200). It is quite amazing that the Philippines is not on Uncle Sam’s permanent travel ban list. The simplest misunderstanding, misconstrued look, or unintended slight can provoke a massive feudal vendetta that could last generations. It seems to all stem from the world-renowned pipsqueak ego of the Filipino…
[…]
The Filipino’s taste for petty violence has spawned lively viral video circuses many times. Recall the Thrilla in NAIA involving Ramon Tulfo, Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto, Robert Carabuna vs the MMDA, and other such nuggets of Pinoy class. Perhaps there is something to be said about the way Filipino men are raised — or not raised as the case may be for the entire generation of Filipinos absentee-parented by the modern-day “heroes” of this sad nation, the Overseas Foreign Workers (OFW).

Read in full here. Given that the presidential palace’s immediate reaction concerned a travel advisory, the Get Real Philippines blog post just sent Malacanang into an apoplectic shock.

Rappler.com noted that the Anikow killing is the first of a foreign diplomat’s family member in the Philippines since the famous Hultman-Chapman case.  That’s the case where Claudio Teehankee Jr., son of the late chief justice Claudio Teehankee, was convicted of murdering two people, one of them the son of a US Embassy employee, inside Dasmariñas subdivision also in Makati.  Teehankee Jr. served 17 years in jail and was granted a presidential pardon in 2008.

 

 

 

 

US Embassy Manila: George Anikow, Diplomatic Spouse Killed in Early Morning Altercation

Citing the Information Officer of the US Embassy in Manila Tina Malone, Rappler.com reported that the husband of an American Embassy employee was killed in Makati City, in the Philippines on Saturday, November 24.  Ms. Malone declined to disclose more details about the incident but did say that the Philippine National Police (PNP) have suspects in custody and that “The US Embassy appreciates the cooperation of the Philippine authorities, and will work closely with the PNP in their investigation.”

An ABS-CBN report identified the victim as George Anikow, who was allegedly killed by 4 suspects at around 4 am, Saturday, in front of the gate of Bel-Air Subdivision.  Elsewhere local reports also indicate that US embassy press attache Tina Malone confirmed the incident but refused to give out the name of the victim for “privacy reasons.” Various news reports spelled the victim’s name as Anico.

The alleged attackers, young men who reportedly come from well-off Filipino families, ranged in age from 22 to 28 and are publicly named by the news report here.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer also reported this incident:

George Anikow, 41, an inactive US marine officer, died on Saturday morning after he was mauled and fatally stabbed at the back and left shoulder in an event so random he and the other men hardly knew each other, Senior Supt. Manuel Lukban, Makati police chief, said in an interview.
[…]
The victim, a dependent of one of the officers of the US Embassy, was awaiting order from the US Marine to be called to duty, the police said.

Lukban said the Makati police opted to file murder, a non-bailable offense, instead of homicide since the attackers chased the victim “with the intent to kill.”

We emailed the US Embassy Manila last night but have yet to receive a response (which may or may not come).  We’ve also seen the public affairs arms of embassies do this often enough citing “privacy reasons” for the deceased in refusing to release or confirm the identity of victims.  They ought to know better than that since the privacy rules no longer cover the dead. Would be a lot more understandable if they decline to provide details due to sensitivity to the next of kin rather than privacy rules.

While we have been unable to confirm this, it looks like the FSO in this case is a first tour officer on a consular assignment to the US Embassy in Manila.  Public records also indicate that the US Embassy in Manila back in August solicited a quotation for a service apartment for this FSO and her family (spouse,  three children 12, 10 and 6 and a 50 lb Labrador) for 40 nights ending on September 24, 2012. Which seems to indicate they were in temporary housing until late September.  And if that’s the case, then they have just moved in to Bel-Air within the last two months, a private subdivision and gated community in Makati where the victim was reportedly a resident.

The latest Crime and Security Report issued by the Regional Security Office of the US Embassy says that crime is a significant concern in urban areas of the Philippines. Typical criminal acts include pick pocketing, confidence schemes, acquaintance scams, and, in some cases, credit card fraud. It also says that carjacking, kidnappings, robberies, and violent assaults sporadically occur throughout metro Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines.