- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Moi sues Hempstone

Kenya’s authoritarian president, Daniel arap Moi, yesterday filed a defamation suit against former U.S. Ambassador Smith Hempstone.

Mr. Hempstone, a former executive editor of The Washington Times, was a critic of Mr. Moi and defender of Kenya’s political opposition during his term there from 1989 to 1993.

Mr. Moi, in his lawsuit filed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, claims Mr. Hempstone exposed him to “public scandal, odium and contempt” by repeating claims that he was responsible for the 1990 murder of Kenyan Foreign Minister Robert Ouko, London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper reported yesterday.

Mr. Moi’s suit denounced the claim as “wholly or entirely false and unfounded and defamatory.” Mr. Hempstone could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Mr. Moi, in power since 1978, also controls the courts, according to a State Department human rights report.

Nicholas Biwott, a Moi ally linked to the murder, also filed a lawsuit against Mr. Hempstone yesterday. The Telegraph said the two are seeking “unspecified damages.”

Mr. Hempstone’s 1997 memoir, “Rogue Ambassador,” was never published in Kenya.

In his book, he repeated claims that Mr. Moi personally beat Mr. Ouko unconscious because he suspected him of revealing state secrets to the first President Bush and former Secretary of State James Baker on an earlier Washington visit.

Mr. Moi then ordered that Mr. Ouko be taken to secretary police headquarters where he was tortured, according to accounts Mr. Hempstone cited.

Mr. Ouko was returned to Mr. Moi and shot by Mr. Biwott, while Mr. Moi looked on, according to the accounts. Mr. Ouko’s body, which had been burned with diesel fuel, was later found on his farm.

Although his murder remained unsolved, a Scotland Yard investigation implicated Mr. Biwott.

Terrorism in Greece

The U.S. ambassador to Greece, in the mildest of diplomatic language, criticized the Greek government for failing to capture any member of the November 17 terrorist group, which has been active for more than 25 years.

Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns told the Greek newspaper Eleftheros Typos on Sunday, “We’re saddened by the fact that not a single person has been arrested in all these years.”

Mr. Burns, who is leaving Athens to take up the post of ambassador to NATO, noted that U.S. targets have been attacked 30 times since he became ambassador four years ago.

He added that five embassy staff members have been killed and more than 100 injured in attacks attributed to November 17 since 1975.

“Terrorism is the most important subject on the agenda of Greek-American discussions,” he told the newspaper.

The United States has frequently criticized Greece for what it considers a failure to provide effective security against terrorism.

Nominees advance

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been busily moving President Bush’s ambassadorial nominees to the full Senate for confirmation.

On Friday, the committee approved 14 nominations, and the Senate immediately approved one — Thomas Schieffer as ambassador to Australia.

The committee also approved: Mercer Reynolds for Switzerland and Liechtenstein; Charles A. Heimbold Jr. for Sweden; Jim Nicholson for the Vatican; Stuart Bernstein for Denmark; Susan M. Cobb for Jamaica; Russell F. Freeman for Belize; Michael E. Guest for Romania; Thomas C. Hubbard for Korea; Marie Huhtala for Malaysia; Franklin L. Lavin for Singapore; Thomas J. Miller for Greece; Larry C. Napper for Kazakhstan; and Roger F. Noriega as ambassador to the Organization of American States.

Mr. Schieffer and Mr. Reynolds were fellow investors with Mr. Bush in the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Mr. Heimbold is chairman and chief executive officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Mr. Nicholson is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Mr. Bernstein is an international banker, and Mr. Noriega was a staff member with former committee chairman Jesse Helms, North Carolina Republican.

The others are career diplomats. The Senate is expected to consider the choices this week.

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