Political Tidbits While on the Road


bison on the road.jpg
(photo credit: V-Man on Flickr)
Failed Suicide Attack against UK Ambassador in Yemen. I just received a press statement from the Washington, DC Embassy Spokesman of the Republic of Yemen (note that it contains disturbing, graphic photo image — here is pdf). The statement starts:

Earlier this morning the British Ambassador to Yemen, H.E. Mr. Timothy Torlot, escaped, a suicide attack targeting his convoy. The incident occurred 8:00 AM local Sana’a time in front of “The Berlin Garden” in Noqom in the eastern district of the capital, Sana’a. The suicide bomber, dressed in sports gear, strapped his body with explosives and attempted to target the British envoy but fortunately failed. Officials investigating the aftermath found the suicide bombers’ body parts scattered across the neighborhood. Aside from the suicide bomber, there were no fatalities and no British nationals were injured.

I was caught off guard by how graphic the release was — and the inclusion on the lower right hand side of photos of a blown off foot and calf of the bomber. But then again, it’s hard to say ‘too much’ if one compares this to the graphic imagery in HBO’s The Pacific. For those interested in the subject of suicide terrorism, check out the new beta site, the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York under the directorship of the University of Chicago’s Robert Pape.
Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs Lael Brainard confirmed. One half of the DC power couple of Kurt Campbell and Lael Brainard had been languishing in an awful confirmation process purgatory for more than a year. Kurt Campbell is currently Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the former CEO of the Center for New American Security and Brainard, who was a senior economic adviser to President Bill Clinton, has finally been confirmed as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs. TWN had highlighted this dragging confirmation in the past — and thinks that it was a major mistake for the US Senate not to expedite her confirmation before the G20 Economic Summit in Pittsburgh.
Bergen and Tiedemann Call for Transparency from US Military on Drone Attacks. My New America Foundation colleagues Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann have an interesting oped in the New York Times today advocating that the US military and Pakistan come clean on drone attacks and admit that they are happening and admit that there have been consequences for the families of innocent victims in Pakistan. These victims are currently not compensated by the US government as are victims in Afghanistan. Bergen and Tiedemann have been in a polite scuffle with the Department of Defense over competing and different accounts of the number of innocent victims from drone attacks. They both contribute to the new AfPak Channel at Foreign Policy.
Aram Roston Wins 2010 Daniel Pearl Award for International Investigative Reporting. Did you know that the US funds the Taliban? I didn’t until I read the account by Aram Roston revealing how “Pentatgon contractors in Afghanistan routinely pay millions of dollars in bribes to the Taliban to permit logistical operations.” Roston’s story was a project of The Investigative Fund that appeared originally in The Nation and which is the subject of an ongoing Congressional investigation by the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs.
— Steve Clemons


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