Home | News    Friday 14 August 2009

Sudan’s Bashir removes powerful intelligence chief


August 13, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir unexpectedly issued a decree on Thursday night replacing the head of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Salah Gosh with his deputy Mohamed Atta Al-Moula Abbas.

The brief statement broadcasted on Sudan’s state media said that Bashir appointed Gosh as his adviser but provided no reason for the shuffle. No other changes were made to the cabinet or other government posts.

The government sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website reported newly appointed NISS chief held a meeting with heads of the departments at his agency and that Gosh was present.

Gosh expressed thanks and gratitude to the NISS employees for the work they have done during his tenure while Abbas praised the work done by his ex-boss.

The timing of the decision coincided with the day before the weekend and a week before the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The decision appears to put an abrupt end to the ambitious career of the influential figure who was part of the Islamist movement that took power in 1989 after overthrowing the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi.

During the early years of the Islamist backed regime Gosh’s name surfaced as a security figure taking part in the crackdown on political opposition using ruthless torture techniques.

He was one of three senior security figures who were demoted in response to regional pressure following the failed assassination attempt on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 1995 at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

It is widely believe that Sudan’s security bureau planned for the attempt on Mubarak’s life that almost brought the country on the verge of war with its Northern neighbor.

Gosh was also described by John Prendergast, former adviser to the White House during Bill Clinton’s administration as “Osama bin Laden’s main escort while the Al Qaeda leader lived in Sudan [1990-1996], helping him incubate the commercial infrastructure that would finance future terrorist strikes,”.

In 2006, Hassan Al-Turabi, the former ideological power behind the Sudanese regime in the 1990’s, explained in detail the role Khartoum played in targeting Mubarak’s convoy and disclosed several of those who took part were killed by the security bureau to hide any evidence.

A few years later Gosh was appointed to lead a Sudanese military manufacturing compound after which he made it to be the director of the internal security services.

Later the internal and external security bureaus were integrated into what was later known as NISS and Gosh was picked to be its first director.

The new NISS director maintained a low profile and most Sudanese did not what their spy chief looked like until 2005 when Gosh paid a visit to the hiding place of the Secretary General of the communist Party Mohamed Ibrahim Nugd who went underground in 1994 to evade capture by the government.

The Sudanese media showed pictures of Gosh talking to Nugd on a couch primarily to demonstrate the long reaching hand of NISS in nabbing a man who disappeared for over 11 years.

In the same year the intelligence chief gave a rare interview to Reuters and made the first confession of its kind that the government armed the notorious Janjaweed militias alleged to have committed mass atrocities in Sudan’s Western region of Darfur. He added that they would not make the same mistake in the country’s east where the local populating began to take arms against the central government.

Prior to this interview, the Sudanese government has vehemently denied any links to the militias. Furthermore, Gosh acknowledged that human right violations took place in Darfur and stressed that those responsible would be brought to justice.

But many human rights and Darfur advocacy groups say that Gosh himself should be prosecuted for his role in the Darfur conflict which the UN said led to the death of 300,000 people and displacing 2.5 million primarily from African tribes.

A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in 2005 titled ‘Entrenching Impunity’ alleged that Gosh had overall responsibility over the security functions in Darfur.

HRW cited an unidentified senior Sudanese army official as saying that “he power is in Salah Gosh. He can overrule the army and military intelligence”.

The application by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor requesting the arrest of the Sudanese president last year accused Gosh of “working closely” to execute Bashir’s plans to exterminate the African population in Darfur. However, he was not named as a suspect by the Hague based court.

Another aspect of Gosh’s career was revealed by the Los Angeles Times in 2005 as a main point of contact for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) war on terror in the Middle East.

The newspaper reported that the CIA ferried Gosh aboard a private charter jet into Washington for secret meetings to discuss cooperation on tracking down Islamic extremists groups leveraging on Khartoum’s extensive dealings with them.

A senior US official commented on the visit saying that Gosh “has strategic knowledge and information about a critical region in the war on terror. The information he has is of substantial value to law enforcement, the intelligence community and the US government as a whole, and this relationship will be of both current and future value,”.

The news of Gosh’s presence drew an uproar in Washington even among government agencies and lawmakers who said that the government is acting hypocritically by receiving a man accuse of orchestrating genocide.

The US Justice Department even deliberated on the possibility of arresting Gosh for his role in the Darfur killings.

The mounting criticism caused then CIA director Porter Goss at the time to scrap his scheduled meeting with his Sudanese counterpart. Gosh was subsequently denied entry into the US later for medical treatment from his chronic heart condition.

The news was equally met with shock and dismay in Sudan particularly in light of the US led invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, which fueled anti-American sentiment across the region.

It was ironic for a government condemned by Washington of conducting genocide in Darfur to be seeking its help under the table.

In 2007, the Los Angeles Times made a breathtaking revelation by reporting that the Sudanese intelligence has been actively assisting the CIA in spying on insurgents fighting US forces inside Iraq.

The Sudanese government and the NISS specifically startled by the disclosure and the damage it could do, rushed to deny the story saying that all cooperation with CIA is taking place “within Sudanese borders aimed mainly at protecting US citizens, their installations and safety inside the country”.

The NISS said that they have not provided any help to the CIA in neither Iraq nor Somalia.

But the press release contrasted sharply with the Sudanese foreign minister remarks to the Los Angeles Times in 2005 acknowledging that the NISS “served as the eyes and ears of the CIA in Somalia,”.

In 2007 Gosh in an interview with Al-Ahdath newspaper from Libya said that his cooperation with the CIA “helped avert devastating measures [by US administration] against Sudan,”.

The remarks appeared to be directed towards Islamic hardliners within the regime who decry the help given to the US “to kill their Muslim brothers”.

Gosh’s public profile in Sudan heightened and his public appearances became more frequent including a ceremony to celebrate Sudanese artists and musicians.

However, many public failures have marked his last two years particularly his handling of Chadian opposition groups that were residing in Sudan’s borders with Chad.

Gosh is believed to have promised the Sudanese president to get the opposition groups up to speed to topple the Chadian government headed by president Idriss Deby to cut the support he provides to Darfur Justice and Equality Movement.

Two attacks in 2006 and 2008 by Chadian rebels on Ndjamena were foiled placing Gosh in an awkward position internally.

Osman Mirghani, a columnist Sudanese columnist Osman Mirghani of the daily Al-Sudani newspaper wrote questioning Gosh on the fate of the money spent on 300 Land Cruiser trucks given to the Chadian opposition by Khartoum.

“What is the point of this long standing and costly investment in Chadian opposition?” Mirghani asked.

Shortly afterwards Gosh lashed out at journalists at a press conference in what was believed to be an indirect response to Mirghani’s column.

The spy chief, who appeared shaken at the press conference, said that some journalists want to be “fake heroes” by accusing the government of supporting Chadian rebels describing that as “cheap”.

“We know that there are some journalists who are in contact with some embassies and receiving money from them,” he added.

From that point on, the NISS stepped up its censorship of Sudanese newspapers to take out any reports on the issue of Chad among many other topics.

In 2007, the NISS upon personal orders from Gosh, arrested Mubarak al-Fadil, chairman of the Umma Reform and Renewal opposition party over allegations of planning sabotage actions in the country with the help of Libya and the US.

However, Al-Fadil was freed months later and it was reported in the London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the intelligence relied on to arrest Al-Fadil and the others was baseless.

In May 2008, the intelligence director came under fire for withholding information from the army on the attack of Darfur JEM on the capital. The Sudanese president resisted demands by senior army figures to sack Gosh who defended his position by saying that the military was infiltrated by the rebel group and no information can be released to it.

Over the last year there were informal reports in the Sudanese capital that Bashir has became mistrusting of Gosh along with 2nd Vice President Ali Osman Taha particularly after the initiation of the criminal case against the Sudanese head of state by the ICC.

Sources say that Bashir discovered that his office was wiretapped and immediately suspected that Gosh and Taha were behind it.

Another story widely circulated kin Khartoum is that Gosh confiscated a suitcase containing a large sum of money from Bashir’s second wife Widad Babiker at the airport and reported the story to his boss who fell out with his wife and some said that they were briefly separated.

Neither of these reports could be verified by Sudan Tribune.

However, Gosh won strong backing from Bashir against any provisions in the draft bill of the National Security law currently deliberated restricting the powers of the NISS.

Gosh in return warned any party inside Sudan supporting ICC warrant against Bashir that that they will have “their hands, limbs and head chopped off”.

Last December, the NISS arrested and tortured three well-known human right activists interrogating them on their links to the ICC.

Gosh was present in most of the foreign trips made by Bashir particularly since the ICC arrest warrant as well as rounds of Darfur peace talks and dialogues with France and the US.

His work appeared to have paid off when US special envoy to Sudan Scott Gration told lawmakers last month that there is nothing that justify having Khartoum being on the list of the state sponsors of terrorism.

He also said that Sudan has been cooperating in stopping the weapon smugglers heading towards Gaza through Egypt. Gration did not elaborate on whether an Israeli strike a Gaza bound arms convoy in East Sudan was carried with the knowledge of the Sudanese government or no.

It remains to be seen what the reaction of Washington would be to the sacking of its closest allies over the last decade.

The new NISS boss is an engineering graduate who joined the bureau in 1992 and was promoted through the years until his appointment in 2004 as Gosh’s deputy.

The move will likely send shockwaves through Sudan’s political arena on the implications of the change on other senior figures including VP Taha who maintained an uneasy relation with Bashir since 2007.


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  • 14 August 2009 08:05, by Peter Nhiany

    Time for Beshir is near and he is getting confuse. He will even put a man who will take his life away with out insight knowledge. i hope Taha is not coming back to NCP. Sudan politcal figures are getting tire of Beshir and they will also loss closeness with him. Go a head President do more rshuffling. Sudan world is presumebly yours and you think you can do anything you want with it. Shame on you. yours days are over. Go to hell. Can you smell it. I know it is nerve racking, but you will not tolerate it. See you at the Hague.

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    • 14 August 2009 09:09, by Free Son

      ’Alsamaka badaat targus’ and we know that ’matta maa badata targus, satitlahis qariban awi’ watch

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  • 14 August 2009 08:06, by Monye Jur

    And so what?

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    • 14 August 2009 08:28, by KingJared

      I think it would be good idea to edit, proof-reading and then post it.
      It is good story but grammar error makes hard.
      The story doesn’t flow.


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      • 14 August 2009 08:48, by Peter Nhiany

        Thank you KingJared for your advice. You just made one grammar error. Did you realize that? May be you didn’t. Here is what I’m referring to; "but grammar error makes hard". You would have put it this way, "but grammar errors make it hard". I appreciated your correction we all make mistakes.

        Thank you.

        Peter Nhiany.

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    • 14 August 2009 08:51, by Peter Nhiany

      Why do you needs an explanation for what you know an answer? People have no time for telling you what Beshir is going to experience soon. Find that out yourself.

      Thank you.

      Peter Nhiany.

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      • 14 August 2009 09:16, by DASODIKO

        My friend Bashir I read your interview on Times Magazine carried by Sam Dealy where you said; as a head of the arm forces there are some mistakes that happens in operations where you do not know the details . There you gave example with mistakes that sometimes happen in US army, explaining that the US President will not be kept accountable for the mistakes committed by commanders who break the laws of their assignments.
        Now why don’t you collect the names of those betrayed the orders and hand them to ICC or you open cases publicly and invite the international community including your brothers Arabs to attend the trials for the fairness of the trails to wash out the conspiracy theories of plots.
        I think you have a chance to be out of the bottle neck if you play smart. I heard some say you are innocent but there are some hiding behind the curtains pushing you to be punished for their own mistakes since you are alone? you know what I mean.expose them. and let them go to hell.

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        • 15 August 2009 21:13, by Assunta Akec

          Hello The reader Advise this man .he is also needed by ICC because the way he talk is seem like is also including .we need ICC to give pushment to Bashir of kill people in Darfuor .so if u are okay with Bashir then all of us we the sudanesss we are not happy with Bashir Regime.

          by Assunta Akec

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  • 14 August 2009 08:28, by Leo Abi

    Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!, our dear so-called the President of Sudan is beginning to smell a rat from every corner including his own circle the NCP. Go ahead Al Basir! block all the corners and we see how you will come out of your house.

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    • 14 August 2009 08:53, by Garang Arok




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    • 14 August 2009 09:26, by Hashim Ali Mohomed

      Time for change the article is fine and ful of important information it reflects how the cabient is working its avery negative picture it asmall circle depends on spying on each other to get to the power . The main target of the securitey is to protect the people [ protect the merchants
      and private compney by making afair system not monoply the
      ecnomic activites and keep it to their Firms look at danvideo most of the VIP are from this companey Ihope one day such Firms will be under investigation} about the future of this establishment its difficult to say but Ithink the egyptian will do their best to pentrate it if not control it as in Nemiri regime and Unity party ariena
      one last question Why the securitey doning nothing in almanasir effective people and in Elshariek dam also in Kjbar why not stop the dam unit of making such crimes .

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  • 14 August 2009 08:59, by Isaac

    Bashir you are not serious, I now believe your suffering from ICCiosis disease contracted from The Hague. The blood of the darfurians and southerners you murdered is now backfiring. I want to assure you that soon you will be reshuffled without your knowledge and Kiir will surely takeover. How can you do such a thing to your fellow killer goooooooosh!!

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    • 14 August 2009 09:47, by Ambago

      Barely a few month’s back some opportunistic south Sudanese threw a party in Khartoum celebrating Salah Gosh’s promotion to a General in a rare but a calculated move.

      That evening Mr. Gosh became over intoxicated with power and lashed out on the Sudanese public that they will have their limps chopped off if any dare to cooperate with the ICC.

      Now that Salah is dismissed barely a few months following his promotion, what are our fellows south Sudanese who used to worship the spy do now? And what is the fate of that big south Sudanese dominated party that has been recently formed by Salah al Gosh?

      Anyway I am not going to waste anyone’s time here because obviously those southerners in question and their political parties are already security agents and no surprise that they will continue to serve the NIF under the new head spy, Engineer Abul Abbas, nas Eskendaria agdaaa naas!

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      • 14 August 2009 18:31, by dong kuol wall

        Sudanese yes president is worng ,
        yes it’s up to president bashir in khartuom to celebrating is two powerful public services .
        mr president you can do what you want alway an know that this Cuontry is not youth it’s our mr president i hope your time is running out ,
        because what is next in your General leadership in your Vics p it’s up to your mr president ,
        what i know is because your time is running out in public services with you allies you service wuorise or good everybody know ,
        mr president your ideas to removed your head inteligence chief it is bad ideas because your time to go is coming thank to nations of Sudan an also Sudanese let get togather an see what khartuom doing know they keep changes their position to wage war againist humenty that why they choppel their positions. Sudanese look carefully for their coming thank
        from Canada new westminstr BC

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        • 8 October 2009 02:39, by black man world

          Please mister PI you are not a great leader your self, not all DINKAS as you mention my friend are the bad people, not all equatorian are good or not all Nuer are good people. None of us is perfect, but what we do make our differencies, it make us better. So please talk to DINKA boy and likes but dont mention DINKA here my friend, i am in my own world never been in trable since younging, but gest what i am DINKA so what make me bad when i really know my bounderies, i know what am doing, i dont kill because that is a bad thing someone could ever think about.

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  • 14 August 2009 09:58, by Luka Lual

    Thank you very much presidentof sudan for the good work you have done.The hole you have dug in front of you and behind will auotmatically let evry body who is not feeling well because of you would be free. Althought you made yourslf to be an avermectin to the people of sudan, so an avizandum time will come even if you are the only master of the killers in sudan then, your picks day which is prepared by God will still reaching you and there will be no wayfor you to hide yourslf from God,s call.

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    • 14 August 2009 10:43, by jur_likang_a_ likan’g

      The removal of Abdallah Gosh from the security services is a wel come news. However he is still lingering in the system of oppression. He will still have influence in his old organisation of terror.

      It is most likely that Bashir, the tyrant is trying to pave way for his third marriage. This time with his male soul mate the so-called Hassan Al Turabi, the Falata from Kassala with an intention to start the second phase of war against the infidels that they claim.

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  • 14 August 2009 14:25, by Biliu

    I have been wondering a lot over the Gration latest statements on Sudan, I Knew there was something going on for long time between the US government and the NCP, this is a revelation which puts a lot of mysteries into light.

    I would consider that as act of wisdom from Al-Bashir, Al-Turabi Loyalist inside NCP are the greatest threat for him now more than before, with the ICC arrest warrant, First Vice president, who we fully know as the rightful inheritance for Al-Turabi Islamic agenda in Sudan, they all know that Bashir is leaving through one way or another, if that happened, NCP as a party will farewell the presidency place for good, and book a seat on the opposition theater, for NCP to maintain power and position while Bashir is gone, they need to reconcile with the international community from behind Bashir, if that succeed and some guarantees obtained on the ground Bashir will overthrown within inside the NCP.

    Due to the long history of cooperation between the replaced Intelligence agent Salah Gosh an the CIA as illustrated above, this man would be the key figure on how to handed over Bashir in exchange for power and support of the US and the international community for the NCP in Sudan, nice and smart move MR president, I hope it’s not too late and the damaged already occurred is reversible.

    When accused of driving devils through Beelzebul, the chief of the demons, Jesus replied
    “Every kingdom divided against itself is heading for ruin; and no town, no household divided against itself can last”

    Friends, this is the Conclusion of the end, it will only take few minutes for the vultures to fight over the carcass, wait and you will see!

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  • 14 August 2009 17:59, by murlescrewed

    Who really cares about this news anyway? His replacement could be just as slimy and ruthless as he was. Never trust these corrupt, greedy and incompetent cabal in Khartoum. Their hands are bloody to the elbows.

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    • 14 August 2009 21:45, by CK Charlie

      What is gonna make a difference if you replace an hyena with the coyote?

      Mohammed Attah, is the name of the terrorist who blew up the World Trade Center in Ney York City?!!

      We did not know Sudan did actually have connections with El Qaeda, but this name Mohammed Atta appearing in Sudan NCP Circles is a testimony of the end of NI Brothers in Sudan!

      I’ll be back!

      CK Charle

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      • 14 August 2009 22:53, by kuminyandi

        Dear CK,
        Com’on man! are you serious? where have you been all these years? YOU GOT BE TOPICAL, Bro.

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  • 17 August 2009 10:24, by gabriel galuak

    Dear southerners,

    to me, I don,t think whether it make different to us.
    either Gosh nor mohamed atta, after all they are arab and bashir regime best spy to us.we should,t waste our time talking about removable of Gosh with Atta. we have our own problem in south which also need to be adjust by KIIR.

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