The Foreign Service Journal, September 2023

10 SEPTEMBER 2023 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL LETTERS Questionable Court Judgments Thanks to our colleague Lee Ann Ross for her excellent article (FSJ July-August 2023) about the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism (USVSST) fund. In addition to what she writes, there are some other points worth mentioning. Source of the funds. The fund is supposed to be financed by fines paid by individuals and companies who have had illegal dealings with state sponsors of terrorism. Whom do you sue? To be eligible to collect under the law, most claimants need a judgment that one of the officially listed state sponsors of terrorism (Cuba, North Korea, Iran, or Syria) was responsible for their injury. In the case of the 9/11 victims who became eligible, in 2015 federal judge George B. Daniels ruled that Saudi Arabia (not a state sponsor) had sovereign immunity, and he dismissed all charges against the kingdom for its alleged role in the attacks. The following year Judge Daniels ruled that Iran (a state sponsor) was responsible. In fact, this ruling seemed to contradict the reality that the Islamic Republic—like the other members of the original “axis of evil”—had no connection to the 9/11 events. Where’s the money? There isn’t any. By assigning blame to a state sponsor (in this case Iran, although apparently any state sponsor would do), the effect was to dilute the fund with thousands of 9/11 claimants who were not eligible for compensation under earlier laws intended to help the direct victims. As W.S. Gilbert wrote in The Gondoliers, “When everybody’s somebody, then no one’s anybody.” Some questionable court judgments have meant that almost no one—even those with legitimate claims—will ever see more than a small portion of the compensation to which they are entitled. A sad story. Alan Golacinski John Limbert Michael Metrinko Barry Rosen Victor Tomseth The signers were members of the Foreign Service assigned to the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, and among those held captive there for 14 months. We Are Still Waiting Thanks so much for covering the story of the 1998 embassy bombings in the July-August FSJ with the in-depth interview of the two former East African U.S. embassy ambassadors, Prudence Bushnell and John E. Lange, and the clear explanation given by Lee Ann Ross, who had been USAID Kenya deputy director at the time. Lee Ann has given a very good and precise explanation on what the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund is all about and how to make a claim without employing too much lawyer terminology. Please thank her on our behalf. This story still brings back very painful memories of what some of us went through that Friday, Aug. 7, 1998. It has been a long wait, going on 25 years now, and still we are going to wait more years for possible compensation. Some of the victims and family members are either dying or have already died due to natural causes or as result of bomb blast health-related complications. Francis Ywaya Former USAID/Kenya FSN Nairobi, Kenya Tribute to Julian Bartley Commemoration of the 1998 East Africa embassy bombings in the JulyAugust 2023 FSJ provoked a flood of memories. I am remembering the late Julian Bartley, a career FSO, husband, father, hero, friend, and, until his untimely death in the 1998 bombings, my mentor. In 1997, my sister was what consular folks call a “welfare and whereabouts” case in Kenya. The wheels of U.S. government from my small-town mayor to the Secretary of State (the late, great Madeleine Albright) and the upper echelons of the Department of Defense moved to rescue her in a perfect synergy that would bring a tear to the most government-cynical eye and made me as proud as I have ever been in my life to be an American. The consular team at Embassy Nairobi was a 24/7 mission control center that whole week she was lost on Mount Kenya, with Julian as consul general at the helm. They found her. Julian and his son Jay lost their lives a year later when al-Qaida attacked our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. After Jess got lost and then found, I switched majors in college, and in the intervening year between her rescue and his murder, Julian gave me advice on classes to take and encouragement to persevere through the Foreign Service exam process. He called our house on every major holiday that year and sometimes “just because” to check on Jess and on my parents. He became a real friend. On Aug. 7, 1998, we watched in abject horror as the scenes unfolded on CNN and, eventually, when both their names rolled across the ticker. Though we had